Help and advice for people who look after a relative, friend or neighbour but are not employed to do so; they are classed as a carer.
Do you help look after a relative, neighbour or friend? Perhaps you look after your husband, wife, partner, a parent, or child if they are sick or disabled? You may not be the only person who helps to care, but if you offer necessary help, and are not employed to provide care, then you are a carer.
You may be caring in a home, or in the home of the person you care for; the person may be a disabled child, an adult or an older person. Some carers help for just a few hours a week, other offer support every day. Some may live with the person they care for, but others may be at a distance.
We work together with carers organisations across the county to offer information, advice and other services to support you as a carer.
Our customer services centre staff will help you decide what you may need and who to contact. They can put you in touch with a carers centre, other helpful organisations or our social care staff.
Support for you as a carer
We can provide support, including:
- A carer assessment to help you think about what is important to you;
- An explanation of your rights as a carer;
- A personal budget in the form of a carer's support grant;
- Advice with looking after your health as a carer;
- Help for carers who need support to continue working and caring from our supported employment service; the service can also provide support with accessing training and employment;
- The carer's emergency card which will identify you as a carer if you have an accident or are unable to identify yourself, so that the person you care for will receive emergency support; and
- Information about respite care, that can give carers of adults a break from caring.
Support from other organisations
There are many organisations in North Yorkshire which support carers, including carers' centre and carers' resources, which give practical and emotional support. For more details, see the carers' centres in North Yorkshire page.
Frequently asked questions
Whilst many carers get a lot of satisfaction from caring, there is clear evidence that their health can suffer. Caring can make great demands on your time, your health and your emotions and can be very exhausting.
Sometimes, because carers are so busy caring for someone else, they don't always notice that their health is deteriorating.
If you ever feel under undue pressure and the situation is becoming stressful, please contact your GP, our customer services centre or your local carers' centre for help. Let them know how you feel and that you need help straight away.
How can caring affect my health?
Health can be affected in a number of ways, depending on the type of caring tasks. Some common problems are:
- Back strain, if the carer is moving and transferring someone;
- Emotional stress and anxiety;
- Sleep problems; and
- Existing conditions, such as high blood pressure, could be made worse.
How can I look after my own health?
You can do several things to look after your own health, including:
- Making sure your GP knows you are a carer and that this is recorded on your patient record;
- Trying to make time for yourself to exercise regularly;
- Trying not to skip meals and eating a balanced diet; and
- Getting in touch with your local carers' centre or carers' resource, who often provide relaxation or pampering sessions.
For more information on health, please see our health and wellbeing section. You may also find the information on our mental health pages useful if you are having difficulties dealing with the emotional side of caring.
If you are defined as a carer, the Carers Acts will:
- Give you formal recognition in the needs assessment of the person you care for;
- Require us to give you information and advice about your rights to assessment;
- Require us to offer to undertake a separate assessment of your needs; and
- Place an obligation on us to take account of your assessment when deciding what services the person you care for requires. For example, if you are in poor health or are having difficulties caring for someone, we must take this into account. Similarly, we must take account of your wish to retain or gain access to employment and training; emotional support; carers' registers and health checks by your GP, and increased choice and control.