Tell me about the support available for carers?
One in eight people are carers.
Carers look after family, partners or friends in need of help because they are ill, frail or have a disability. The care they provide is unpaid.
Three in five people will become a carer during their lifetime.
People who take on this role include mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, friends, neighbours, husbands, wives. Carers may be children, young people or adults. Without the support they provide, many people would be unable to manage in the community.
Caring for someone may be only one of the many things you do in your everyday life. You may or may not live with the person for whom you provide care.
The circumstances in which you provide care can vary to those of other people who take on a caring role:
- A 7-year-old who sleeps at her granny's house overnight to make sure she is okay and to be there to call for help if needed
- A young woman who has multiple sclerosis who looks after her disabled child
- A husband or wife who gradually over time has increased the amount of help they provide to their spouse
- An ageing parent who helps their son or daughter who has a learning disability and is now in their forties or fifties
- A 13 year old boy who has to look after himself and his sister because their mum misuses drugs and/or alcohol
- The neighbour who pops round to see if the lady next door is okay
... Everybody knows a carer
Carers have identified the following needs:
- Choice - Carers like to have prompt and understandable information on available services, have a choice of services and the right to say no to continuing their current role or to take on a caring role.
- Well-organised services - Carers need to know who does what and why and how to access these.
- Practical help - Carers require access to a range of support services including respite.
- Recognition - Carers would like their specific contribution, needs, rights and responsibilities recognised.
- Information - Carers need readily available information and independent advice.
- Involvement - Carers need to be consulted at all levels in the decision making process and given the opportunity to become involved.
Young carers needs
Young carers want non-interfering, non-judgmental, practical services, that offer:
- practical support, and
- someone to talk to.
How we can help
If you care for someone or know someone who is a carer you may have many questions you would like an answer to, or you may want to get information for yourself, the person you care for or someone else.
You may want to talk about your situation with someone, in confidence, who is impartial and able to offer advice, support and information on where and how you can get help. Your local carers support centre will be happy to help.
The VSA Carers Centre also offers advice, information and support on all aspects of caring.
You can get help from your local social work office, where a number of different professionals (social worker, care manager, home care supervisor and occupational therapist) will be able to offer advice and support on a variety of different issues.