There are many different situations when you might end up as a caregiver. It could be a career choice, for a loved one or simply by helping out your neighbours. If you’re on hand to provide care, arrange hospital appointments, help with everyday activities or simply keep someone company then you’re involved in caring in some capacity – even if doesn’t feel like it.
Whatever level of care you’re providing, it is worth knowing about your options and what support there is available to you. Caring is not always easy and knowing where to turn if you need extra help is always important.
Your rights as a carer
If you regularly provide a substantial amount of care for someone then you are entitled to a carer’s assessment. This is true even if the person you care for has assessed needs or not. During your assessment you will need to talk about the impact caring has on your life.
The assessor will also be able to inform you if you are entitled to other sources of help. This may be in the form of a carer’s allowance or carer’s credit through National Insurance payments. You may also be able to request flexible working hours if you are employed and you can also receive assistance and care equipment from social services.
As mentioned, you may be entitled to some form of financial support from your local authority. This can be in the form of cash payments to help you in certain areas that assist your caring. It could also include respite care to give you some time away.
You can also receive support in the form of Telecare to offer reassurance when you are not there. There are also devices to detect when someone has fallen, had a seizure or is attempting to leave the house unsupervised. Peer support is another mechanism that can help you to cope with your role. Just talking to other carers in your situation often helps.
Looking after yourself
It’s all too easy to overlook your own needs as a carer. But by looking after your own health and well-being you can better manage your caring role. Tell your GP you are a carer and they can provide extra assistance. They can also recommended places to go for emotional support and social interaction.