A carer is anyone who cares, unpaid, for a friend or family member who due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction cannot cope without their support.
Caring for someone isn’t easy.
For some it may be a few hours per month, but for others it can equate a full time job.
It’s important to know that there is help and support available for you too.
But first, you must identify if you are a carer.
Am I A Carer?
– Are you looking after or helping someone who is vulnerable?
– Do you help them with their everyday tasks such as washing, dressing and eating?
– Do you do their shopping?
– Do you simply keep them company?
– Do you spend a lot of your spare time helping them?
If the answers to the above are “yes”, then it’s likely you’d be classed as their carer.
Why Am I A Carer?
It’s now important to decide why you are a carer, and if you do in fact want to be one.
Some may live with the person and are providing instant help and care.
Some may fall naturally into it, feeling a need to give back to the person (a parent or close family member).
Others may live close by to them and feel it doesn’t affect them too greatly to run a few extra errands (neighbour or friend).
Whatever your reason, you must decide if you want to be their carer, as this help is likely to be long term and they will rely on you to keep their life moving.
But you don’t need to do it alone.
Where Can I Get Help?
Your local council and social services department can carry out a carer’s assessment which can be requested online.
This is usually done face to face however may be carried out over the phone, and may include:
– The time you spend caring
– The tasks you help them with
– Are you left with enough time to run your own life?
– Is there anything that puts you at risk?
– Are your mental and physical health affected?
Once this is done and your case has been considered, the council will inform you whether you’re eligible for help.
If you are, they will explain where and how they can help you, which may include signposting to organisations such as us for support.
It’s important to note that some councils do charge for some services and if this is the case, they may ask you to complete a financial assessment to assess whether you can afford to contribute towards it.
This may also include financially assessing the person you care for.
What If I’m Not Eligible?
If you aren’t eligible, the council will still provide you with information of other support in your local area.
This may include charities and organisations such as KingsCare that help within local communities.
You can also complain to the council regarding your outcome and they may re-assess at your case.
How Does Being A Cater Affect Your Life?
Becoming a carer for someone may mean a change in your finances.
You may need to adapt your home, purchase health aids, or give up work.
There is help available, and Carer’s Allowance exists to help unpaid carers in financial need.
There are limitations to this (such as an earning threshold), so please refer to the Government’s website for more information.
You may also be able to get a reduction on some of your household bills, and receive grants from local charities and trusts.
The Government may also help with your contributions towards your state pension.
Financial help doesn’t just extend to the carer.
It could also help to assess the finances of the person being cared for, as they may be eligible for benefits such as Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
Caring for someone can be an extremely lonely place.
No matter your age or circumstance, it is a huge responsibility and you may feel very isolated.
It can also have an effect on your mental health as the emotional exhaustion may lead to stress and depression.
If you’re able to leave the person for a short while, there are groups within local communities that provide a safe place to talk.
KingCare runs several carers support groups and social activities throughout the month.
See here for more info.
Job And Education
Your job or education may be affected due to your caring responsibilities, especially if you’re a younger carer.
Everyone has the right to flexible working, so it is vitally important to discuss your circumstances and options with your employer to help protect both your job and income.
Equally, be transparent with your education unit.
They should have procedures and well-being teams in place to help support you.
There are lots of useful websites that can offer support and advice whilst helping you navigate your caring journey.
Listed below are a few:
How Can KingsCare Help?
As mentioned above, KingsCare host a variety of Carer’s meetings and social events.
We have volunteers that can help with food shopping, prescription deliveries, transport to and from hospital/Doctor’s appointments.
We also run a ‘Befriending’ service where we phone people and offer them conversation.
This can be particularly helpful for those that are lonely and perhaps live alone.
We can assist with benefits applications and provide advice regarding Carer’s Allowance and PIP.
Whatever your need, please contact us on 01626 357090 and we will assist where we can.