North Yorkshire is recognising the tremendous work of the many thousands of people in the county who care for a relative or friend – and reminding them that help is available to support them.
About 60,000 people in North Yorkshire – roughly one in ten of the population – care for a loved one. This is a vitally important service, and never more so than during the past 20 months of the Covid-19 pandemic. Many people who look after friends or family provide round-the-clock care and support, with little time for respite or rest.
So on Carers’ Rights Day this year (25 November), we are encouraging all carers to know their rights.
Cllr Michael Harrison, Executive Member for Adult Services and Health Integration, said: “The work carers do is invaluable and is appreciated, particularly as the pandemic remains with us.
“It’s important anyone who is caring for a loved one in this way has access to the right support, and at the County Council we have measures and information available to help to make sure this happens.
“Whether you are a new carer or have been caring for someone for some time, it is important to understand your rights and to access the support available to you as soon as you need it. We want carers to feel confident about asking for what they need.”
Cllr Andrew Lee, Executive Member for Public Health, added: “Carers do incredible work, day in, day out. Many people who are caring for loved ones may not even realise that is what they are doing. They may see it as part of their responsibility, so it is important to recognise and support them, to make sure they can find the help they need.
“The events of the pandemic have put more pressure than ever on carers, so I thank them for everything they continue to do.”
The support available and where to find it
If you look after someone who could not manage without your help, you have a right to have your needs assessed. A carer’s assessment will look at the care you provide and how that affects your life. It will consider what you want to achieve, such as work, training, social activities and wellbeing. Find out about a carer’s assessment.
Carer support groups are available in many areas across the county for adult and young carers, offering practical and emotional support.
A carer’s emergency card 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. Find out how to request a carers emergency card.
As an unpaid carer, you have a right to request flexible working, time off in emergencies and parental leave. To find out more, contact your local carers centre or visit the Carers UK website.
The Carers UK website also includes information about benefits to which you and the person you care for might be entitled.
Your GP might not know that you are a carer. Make sure your GP practice has you registered as a carer on your medical record. This will entitle you to a free flu vaccination and may offer flexibility with appointment times for you and/or the person you care for to accommodate your situation.
As a carer, you are entitled to a free flu jab each year if you receive a carer’s allowance or are the main carer for an older or disabled person who may be at risk if you get sick. Tell your GP or pharmacist that you are a carer. Find further information about flu jabs.
For your booster vaccine, if you have had your first two jabs at least six months ago you will be contacted by your GP or the national vaccination team if you are:
- 40 years old or over;
- get a free flu vaccination from your GP; or
- are in receipt of carer’s allowance.