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10-16 June 2024

Information for carers

Caring can be hugely rewarding but it can also have an impact on all aspects of your life. Having the right information and support for you and those you care for can make all the difference.

Getting more support

You can find out about your local support groups and services available in your area by contacting your local council or Health and Social Care Trust in Northern Ireland. They can also tell you what rights you have. For example, by arranging a carer’s assessment, you can explore what your needs are and what different forms of support are available, from emotional assistance to practical help – such as support with care workers in the home. You could also get support by requesting a needs assessment for the person(s) you care for as a starting point.

Many of the Carers Week supporter charities provide more guidance, including Carers Trust, who have a network of local services providing support to carers. They also have a grants programme that can provide one-off payments for support. 

Looking after yourself

Taking care of your health and wellbeing is essential when you are caring for someone, especially if you are caring for more than one person. But it can be hard to find the time to meet your own needs. You may struggle to eat and sleep well, find the time to exercise and manage your stress levels. Rethink Mental Illness has resources on their website that can help you if you are worried about your own mental health. 

It’s common to feel lonely or isolated as a carer, especially as friends and family might not understand how tough it can be. All the supporter charities involved in Carers Week provide opportunities to get in touch, through online forums and social networks, helplines and local support groups. Carers Trust and Carers UK have online directories where you can find out about services near you.

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Work and finances

If you are balancing paid work with caring, it is worth checking out your company’s policies and procedures with regard to caring responsibilities. As a working carer, you also have a right to request flexible working and time off to look after dependants in an emergency. 

For some extra help with your finances, Age UK, Carers UK and other Carers Week supporter charities can help explain the impact caring might have on your finances and where you can access support – including a benefits check. MND Association has a benefits advice service with a chat facility.

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Technology and equipment

Whilst technology can never replace being with others, simple devices and apps can help people connect and manage care on a day-to-day basis. They may also help someone live independently for longer and give you peace of mind. 

Carers UK has lots of information about how different types of technology and equipment can help with caring. If you or the person(s) you care for are unsure about using the internet, local Age UK services can help older people to get online.

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Planning for the unexpected

It’s important to think about what you could do if something goes wrong or your situation changes suddenly.

For example, could family and friends help you? Do you have contact details handy to get in touch with people in case of an emergency? Try to keep up-to-date records covering key information about the person you care for and keep these details safe and in the same place. 

Some areas also have emergency card schemes for carers. They are often set up by the local council (or health and social care trust in Northern Ireland) or your local carers’ organisation.

Talking to sources of support such as your local carers’ service, local Age UK, local Rethink Mental Illness or local MND group may be helpful.

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