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Caring

When you’re caring for someone, it can be easy to put their needs ahead of your own. But you do need to look after yourself too.

Use our advice to make the most of the support that’s out there so you have the time, energy and money to live your life well.

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How to get support while caring

Find out what you can start doing to get the support you need as a carer.

  • Read our guide about caring

    Understanding your rights as a carer is your first step to getting support. If you haven’t already, read our guide
  • Get a needs assessment

    Contact your local authority for a free needs assessment of the person you’re caring for, and to get a carer’s assessment to establish your own needs.
     
    These assessments consider you and the person you care for, the aim of both is to see what can be done to make your lives easier. For example, you might be asked about your health and how well you’re managing. The assessment will work out whether you have the right equipment and aids to help you in your day-to-day tasks. Visit Carers UK to find out more about getting assessments.
     
    And if you’ve already had an assessment but don’t think the outcome is right you can challenge it.
  • Ask for support from your employer

    Ask your employer what they're able to do to help support your dual role of carer and employee. Lots of organisations have support in place for working carers.  And even when they don't they're often able to reduce your working hours or offer flexible working and reasonable adjustments.
     
    You could also ask for a career break if you need it. Lots of organisations have employee-led networks made up of other people like you who are juggling their job and their caring responsibilities. Ask your HR department, or work colleagues if they know of any suitable networks you could join. 
  • Check which benefits are available for carers

    Find out which benefits are available for carers and those being cared for.
     
    Carers can experience financial hardship as a result of their caring, by finding out about additional sources of income you might be able to fund a break from caring, or help pay for a nurse.  
     
    If the person you care for has mobility problems, you may also be entitled to a blue badge so you can park in spaces assigned for those with a disability.
     
    Get more information from Carer's UK about getting carers allowance and benefits for carers
  • Consider getting power of attorney

    If you think the person you care for might lose the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves, find out about setting up a 'power of attorney'.
     
    Anyone who’s 18 or older and has the mental ability to make decisions for themselves can arrange a power of attorney. This gives someone else the right to make these decisions for them in the future. To find out how to do this, go to Carers UK.
     
    Do keep in mind that the person must set up a power of attorney while they still have the ability to make their own decisions. If they lose this capacity, no-one else can make it for them.
  • Find out about aids, equipment and adaptions

    Find out more about the wide and increasing range of equipment, aids and adaptions to help you manage as a carer.
     
    When you have your local authority assessment, ask if there are any aids or equipment for the specific assistance you need. For example, if you need help lifting, a bed hoist or a walk-in bath might help. Alternatively, they might be able to offer someone to come in and take on the lifting task for you. Some carers’ organisations and local authorities can also offer you training in lifting techniques to minimise any negative physical impact you might have. 
     
    A stair lift, grab rails or even easy-grip kitchen utensils might also be things to consider. In many cases, you can obtain healthcare-related equipment free of charge from the NHS and equipment to help with daily living from your local council. 
  • Register as a carer with your GP

    Making sure your GP is aware of your situation will mean they can offer you access to support, for example local carer groups. And if you become anxious or stressed due to the emotional demands of your caring role your GP will be aware of the background and will be in a better position to be able to help refer you for counselling or other support.  
     
    When you’re busy caring for someone else, it can be hard to find time to visit your doctor. But caring can be physically and emotionally draining, so you do need to look after yourself so make sure you schedule time for a regular check in with your GP.
  • Schedule breaks from caring

    Make a formal plan to get a break from caring. As part of this plan, make sure you make time to connect with others. Caring can be lonely and it's important to your wellbeing to socialise and do something just for you, a hobby for example. 
     
    You might also find talking to others in a similar situation helpful. There are a number of online forums that let you connect with others to share your experiences, frustrations and ideas.
  • Get help from others

    Ask your GP or carers' organisation about support groups you can attend in your area, and look for condition-specific as well as general carers’ groups. Contact Carers UK, the Carers Trust or the Include Programme (for young carers), they may be able to organise for someone to come and help you regularly, or they may help you fund some private care. 
     
    Write a list of friends and family, think about what they can do, and start asking them to help. Perhaps by helping to take on some of your caring responsibilities, or by doing practical things like doing your weekly shop, or having a chat about how you're feeling.

    Read more about getting a break from caring here

    If you're a current or former bank employee and need support get in touch with one of our team to find out how we can help.

  • Organise counselling for emotional support

    Ask your GP or your local carers’ group about counselling to help you manage the transition to becoming a carer and to provide you with ongoing support.
     
    Taking on a caring role for someone with whom you have an established relationship can happen suddenly, through illness or accident, or it can creep up slowly. Adjusting to these changing roles in your relationship is a big step emotionally. And it can be particularly hard if you help them with personal or intimate care. There can be so many things to do, that it can be easy to ignore your feelings, but if you’re finding it hard to manage counselling can help.  

Next steps

Making a plan and sticking to it will help you take steps to look after yourself and the person you care for. Use our actions to set up your own to-do list to help you manage.