What is a carer?
A carer is someone of any age who provides unpaid support to family or friends who could not manage otherwise.
You may not think of yourself as a carer, but if you provide practical and emotional support for someone on an ongoing basis to help them live independently, then that is exactly what you are.
This is your opportunity to talk about your own needs, as well as what could make caring easier for you. Some things you need to think about before your assessment:
- Do you get enough sleep?
- Is your health affected in other ways?
- Are you able to get out and about?
- Do you have any training or educational needs?
- Do you get any time for yourself?
- Are your other relationships affected?
- Do you want information about benefits?
Information about needs assessments can be found on the Hampshire County Council website or you can telephone them on 0300 555 1386. Alternatively, if the person you care for is an inpatient, ask the ward staff for a referral to the hospital’s social work team.
Some of the carers support organisations offer Emergency Planning for Carers where support is provided to help carers draw up their own emergency plan. This plan will be activated should there be an emergency and the carer is unable to fulfil their caring role.
As a carer, it is important that you take care of yourself – this can be very positive both physically and emotionally for you and for the person you are taking care of.
However, all too often carers can be so preoccupied with the health and wellbeing of the person they are caring for, that their own needs take a back seat. This means that carers can end up needing to be looked after themselves.
If you are a carer, make sure that you tell your GP, as he/ she will be able to offer you additional help and support.
NHS England have produced a booklet that you may also find useful. You can view it on their website.
NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) have published guidance on supporting adult carers. Visit their website for further information.