What is a Carer?

What is a Carer?

Family members and friends who care for people with mental health problems are of vital importance. However, the emotional demand of caring can be intense, and sometimes carers themselves need advice, support, and information. This section provides some ideas about what is available.

Are you a Carer?

Carers can be:

  • Adults or children
  • Family, friends, or neighbours

Caring for someone who:

  • Is elderly and frail
  • Has a physical disability
  • Has a learning difficulty
  • Has mental health problems
  • Is misusing substances, such as drugs or alcohol
  • Cares for an adult or child with special needs

Caring can involve:

  • Caring alone or sharing the task with others
  • Sharing a home with the person who is cared for, or living elsewhere
  • Helping with things like dressing, or bathing, as well as giving all kinds of practical and emotional support

Caring for someone can be very rewarding, but it can also be demanding, stressful, and tiring.

Help from your Local Authority – Community Care Division

If you care for someone, your local community care division may be able to support you in ways that will help you to care. They may be able to make it easier for you to care for someone by providing information and advice about a local carers group, giving support, or by arranging for practical help to assist with personal care for the person you look after, for example:

  • Home Care – to help people most in need, in order that they may stay in their own homes.
  • Home delivered meals
  • Aids and equipment, to help with everyday tasks
  • Minor adaptations to the house, such as handrails, ramps, etc.
  • A break from caring for the carer

Before services can be arranged, your local authority’s community care division will assess the needs of the person for whom you care, and /or your needs as a carer.

Assessing your needs

There are two types of assessment that involve carers:

  1. A Community Care Assessment
  2. A Carer’s Assessment

Both types of assessment are carried out by a Social Worker or Community Care Worker, usually during a home visit.

A community care assessment considers the needs of the person for whom you provide care, and the services that can be provided directly to that person. You can contribute to this as part of the cared-for person’s assessment, so it could benefit both of you.

If you are 16 years old or over, and look after an adult on a regular and substantial basis, you are entitled to a Carer’s Assessment. You have a right to your own assessment, even if the person for whom you are caring has refused a Community Care Assessment. Your Carer’s Assessment will identify your needs as a carer and help plan what support you receive from your local authority.

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