Carers, Friends And Family Support

Coping & Support

What Counts as Supporting or Caring For Someone Else?

Supporting someone else is sometimes called caring. You are a carer if you provide (unpaid) support and care for someone who has an illness disability, mental health problem or addiction. People often assume that carers tend to be women but research shows that around four in ten carers are men.

Being someone’s carer probably only describes part of your relationship with them. You may also be a parent, partner, sister, brother, child, friend or other family member. This relationship can be just as (or more) important to you. You may also have other caring roles as well, for example as a parent to other children.

Supporting others can be mentally and physically exhausting. The time you spend caring can really vary too – some people look after someone for just a short time and others find themselves caring for someone for the long term.

Caring and the Benefits System

The benefits system only defines you as a carer if you meet the criteria for Carers Allowance (the main welfare benefit for carers in the UK). But even if you don’t meet this criteria, you may still be a carer and need additional support. The Care Act 2014 explains how local authorities should assess you and what your legal rights are. Carers UK can provide more information and advice

What Might I Have to Do If I Am Caring for or Supporting Someone Else?

Caring for someone can mean a range of things. Being patient and giving can feel like part of the normal give and take of any relationship, but sometimes you might find yourself spending a lot more time and effort helping another person. You may provide a range of support including:

  • giving emotional support
  • helping someone seek help for a mental health problem
  • helping someone cope with a mental health problem
  • cooking and cleaning
  • personal care, such as help with washing and going to the toilet
  • budgeting and looking after finances
  • supporting them to live with others in your family (e.g. brothers and sisters)
  • helping other family members understand the needs of the person you are caring for
  • giving medicine or providing medical care
  • •going to appointments and advocating on their behalf (helping them express their views and wishes)
  • checking they are safe
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