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Am I a carer?

Am I a carer?

A carer is any unpaid child, young person or adult who looks after a family member, partner or friend who needs help because of their illness or disability. You may or may not live with the person you’re caring for

Citizens Advice says you are likely to be a carer if all of the following apply:

  • You do things like helping someone to wash, dress and eat; taking them to regular appointments, doing their shopping or keeping them company.
  • You aren’t paid to look after the person you’re caring for.
  • You spend a lot of time caring for the person - there’s no legal definition of this, but it could mean anything from a few hours a day, to 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

You may have found yourself in a caring role suddenly, or perhaps it has gradually increased over the years. Care and support is available. This can range from practical help to make day-to-day life easier to benefits such as Carer's Allowance.

Carers UK offers a guide for anyone new to caring that will take you straight to the information you need to know.

NHS information on support and benefits for carers includes details of how to access a carer's assessments, support from local councils, respite care and help for young carers.

In Northern Ireland, carer’s assessments are managed by local Health and Social Care Trusts.

In Scotland, all carers are entitled to either an Adult Carer Support Plan or a Young Carer Statement, which will help you get practical support. Each local council publishes its own eligibility criteria for these.

Young carers

A young carer is a child or young person up to 18 years old who is caring for a family member.

The Carers Trust helps young carers to cope with their caring role through specialised services delivered by Carers Trust Network Partners across the UK.What's on offer varies from area to area but can include:

  • the chance to spend time with other young carers
  • helping you and your family access services near your home
  • providing advice and emotional support through counselling and drop-in sessions
  • working with your school so that teachers understand your situation
  • offering you the chance to take a break from caring.