Who are Carers

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A carer is anyone, including children and adults who looks after a family member, partner or friend who needs help because of their illness, frailty, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction and cannot cope without their support. The care they give is unpaid. 

Are you a carer?

Some people have been looking after family or friends for years and do not recognise themselves as carers. This is why, at Southern Health, we value the often life-long support carers provide and recognise them as equal care partners. We want to offer as much guidance and reassurance as possible, to help you in your caring role. 

Below are are some explanations

Are you helping to look after and support a loved one who is an adult. 

You might be supporting and helping to maintain a person’s independence. This may be your husband/wife, mum/dad, or even a neighbour or friend. You might be helping to support their memory, support them emotionally, or help with day-to-day tasks like washing, dressing, cooking and cleaning. Whatever form this takes it can begin to put a strain on your relationship, as well as being a strain on you physically and emotionally.

The physical strains of supporting a loved one could be due to taking on more of the household jobs. Also, you might be more involved in washing and dressing your loved one. You might be learning new skills such as dealing with the household finances and how to prepare a meal.

You might be having to adjust to a number of losses, such as a loss of the person your loved one was, the loss of the roles they used to take in your life, the  loss of the future that the two of you had planned together, and the loss of your independence. This can understandably lead to feelings of stress, worry, low mood, guilt, and, at times, resentment for the person you are supporting.

If you are feeling like this then it can often be difficult to ask for help.

Parent carers are parents of children and young persons under 25 who provide care,assistance or support to another child or young person who is disabled, physically or mentallyill, or has a substance misuse problem. They carry out, often on a regular basis, significant or substantial caring tasks which are more than parents would usually expect to do for a similar aged child without additional needs.

Some of the ways parent carers care for someone are:

  • Helping them to get up, get washed or dressed, or helping with toileting • when children of a similar age would be able to do this for themselves
  • Doing lots of the extra household chores like washing bedding because a child is still not dry at night.
  • Needing to keep a child close when near to roads as they would not be safe – when children of the same of age would be able to understand the risk and keep themselves safe.
  • Managing behaviour which other children of a similar age would by now be able to manage for themselves.

Lots of young people spend a lot of time looking after a loved one, such as one or both of their parents, their brother or sister. Children and young people who help someone with an illness or a disability are often called 'young carers'.

What might a young carer do?

  • Practical tasks, like cooking, housework and shopping.
  • Physical care, such as helping someone out of bed. 
  • Emotional support, including talking to someone who is distressed.
  • Personal care, such as helping someone dress.
  • Managing the family budget and collecting prescriptions.
  • Helping to give medicine. 
  • Helping someone communicate.
  • Looking after brothers and sisters.

Young carers are children under 18 with caring responsibilities, and their rights to be assessed come mostly from the Children Act 1989 and the Children and Families Act 2014.

If there is an adult being looked after, then the local council has a duty to consider whether there are any children involved in providing care, and if so, what the impact is on that child.

The local council have a duty to assess ‘on the appearance of need’ (ie without a ‘request’ having to be made). They also have a more general duty to ‘take reasonable steps’ to identify young carers in their area.

The local council must involve the child with caring responsibilities, their parents and any other person the young carer requests in the assessment process. The assessment itself must look at whether or not the young carer wishes to continue caring, and whether it is appropriate for them to continue caring. When doing this they have to take into account any education, training, work or recreational activities the young carer is or wishes to participate in.

Where a young carer’s eligible needs are identified as requiring support, local councils will have to:

  • provide support directly to the young carer or
  • demonstrate that the ‘cared for person’s’ assessment has provided adequate care and support to prevent inappropriate care being required from the young carer.


For more information contact us at: Carer.involvement@southernhealth.nhs.uk 

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