A carer is someone of any age who provides unpaid support to family or friends who could not manage without this help. This could be caring for a relative, partner or friend who is ill, frail, disabled or has mental health or substance misuse problems.
Anyone can become a carer - carers come from all walks of life, all cultures and can be of any age. Many feel they are doing what anyone else would in the same situation, looking after their mother, son, or best friend and just getting on with it.
Carers don’t choose to become carers, it just happens and they have to get on with it. If they did not do it, who would and what would happen to the person they care for?
Why do carers need support?
Carers are the largest source of care and support in each area of the UK. It is in everyone’s interest that they are supported.
- Taking on a caring role can mean facing a life of poverty, isolation, frustration, ill health and depression.
- Many carers give up an income, future employment prospects and pension rights to become a carer.
- Many carers also work outside the home and are trying to juggle jobs with their responsibilities as carers.
- The majority of carers struggle alone and do not know that help is available to them.
- Carers say that access to information, financial support and breaks in caring are vital in helping them manage the impact of caring on their lives.
Carers experience many different caring situations. A carer could be someone looking after a new baby with a disability or caring for an elderly parent, someone supporting a partner with a substance misuse or mental health problem. Despite these differing caring roles, all carers share some basic needs. All carers also need services to be able to recognise the individual and changing needs throughout their caring journey.
Carers often suffer ill-health due to their caring role. To care safely and maintain their own physical and mental health and well-being, carers need information, support, respect and recognition from the professionals with whom they are in contact. Improved support for the person being cared for can make the carer’s role more manageable.
Carers need support to be able to juggle their work and caring roles or to return to work if they have lost employment due to caring.
With an ageing population, the UK will need more care from families and friends in the future. This is an issue that will touch everyone’s life at some point. Carer support concerns everyone.
Carers Trust support
Carers Trust provides 24-hour access to information, advice and peer support for carers wherever they live in the UK, via our online community of carers. The discussion boards, blogs and chat room give carers the opportunity to share experiences, seek advice and meet others in a similar position.
Our online support team are also on hand to answer carers' enquiries via firstname.lastname@example.org
This website provides carers with a wealth of relevant information via our help directory, details of all our local Carers’ Centres around the UK and access to information on local services and events.
Where can young carers go for online support?
YCNet has an online support team who are on hand to provide help and advice and to ensure a safe environment where young carers can chat to others in a similar position. The team also runs an online buddying scheme for new members and one-to-one support sessions for young carers who are in crisis or need extra support.