Caring is such an important part of life. It’s simply part of being human. Carers are holding families together, enabling loved ones to get the most out of life, making an enormous contribution to society and saving the economy billions of pounds.
Yet many families are stretched to the limit – juggling care with work and family life, or even struggling with poor health ourselves. We often find it difficult to make ends meet if we’re unable to work or if we’ve reduced our working hours to care.
Every day 6,000 people become carers. Many don’t know how or where to get help. It can be frightening and very lonely.
Looking after someone can be tough, but you’re not on your own. There are many organisations that can offer support, information and advice that’s tailored to your situation, to champion your rights and support you in finding new ways to manage at home, at work, or wherever you are.
What is a Carer?
Caring can be extremely complicated. The maze of rights and entitlements can be complicated. Filling in paperwork can be complicated. Getting a break can be complicated. Our feelings about caring can certainly be complicated.
So what makes you a carer? If you do something over and above that you would normally do as a parent, family member or friend, then you are a carer. If you are a parent, your children are your responsibility and the list of things you do as a parent is endless. If you do extra things such as caring for a disability or illness, you often have to mange many other responsibilities to.
Who are Young Carers?
A young carer is a person under 18 who regularly provides emotional, practical support and assistance to a family member who is disabled, physically or mentally unwell or who misuses substances.
The Carers (Recognition and Services) Act 1995 defined young carers as “Children and young people (under 18) who provide or intend to provide a substantial amount of care on a regular basis”. This excludes children who provide care as part of contractual or voluntary work, but the Local Authority can conduct an assessment if it is felt appropriate.
For more information about young carers, please refer to the end of this page.