When you’re caring for someone, it can be difficult to get time to take care of yourself. But looking after your own health and wellbeing will benefit you and the person you’re caring for.
Being a carer can be physically and emotionally draining, especially if you’re also working or have other people to take care of. It is sometimes difficult to balance looking after yourself with taking care of someone else. On this page you’ll find information, and links to other organisations, to help you maintain your own health and wellbeing.
There are things that you can do to look after your own health and wellbeing. There’s also support to help you cope. These may include:
Taking care of your health
Eating well and exercising
Getting enough sleep
Taking regular breaks to recharge your batteries and do something you enjoy
Joining a group to meet people in a similar position and share your experiences
Speaking to your GP if you have health problems as a result of lifting or moving the person you care for
Carers UK provides information and advice for carers looking to look after their health. Also see Live Well on NHS Choices for help with your diet, stopping smoking, getting enough exercise, and coping with stress.
You may already get support through friends and family, or through services and activities in your local community. However, Warrington has a range of different services to provide help, advice and support to carers. You can contact these directly, at any time and without the need for an assessment from the Council.
Carers UK – National organisation providing information, advice and support for carers.
Carers’ Trust – A charity for, with and about carers. They work to improve support, services and recognition for anyone living with the challenges of caring.
NHS Carers Direct Helpline – A national helpline providing advice on entitlements, benefits and carers’ services. You can call the Carers Direct helpline on 0300 123 1053 if you need help with your caring role and want to talk to someone about what options are available to you.
If you are under the age of 18 and providing care to a family member who has a physical illness, disability, mental health, or a problem with alcohol or drugs then you are probably a young carer.
Young carers have the right to a young carer’s assessment to see what help and support they and their family need, to choose the amount of care they receive, to be protected from excessive or inappropriate caring that impacts on their health and wellbeing, and to access information and advice.
If you are a carer you can ask for a carer’s assessment. This will give you the opportunity to discuss your caring role and find out if you can get help from adult social care services or any other local organisations.
The assessment will look at things like:
what kind of help and support the person you are caring for needs
what kind of things you do to care for them
how much time you spend caring and who else cares for the person
whether you live with the person you care for or not
your views, preferences and the amount of support you already have
your health and wellbeing
A member of staff from the council will ask questions to find out what help you might need to allow you to continue caring. This can be done either together with the person you care for (a joint assessment) or on your own (a separate assessment). The aim of the assessment is simply to help you and the person you care for.
Financial information Carer’s Allowance is the main benefit for carers. If you are looking after someone for 35 hours a week or more, and the person you care for receives certain benefits, then you may be eligible. Find out more and apply at: www.gov.uk/carers-allowance.
There are some other benefits or financial assistance you, or the person you care for, may be entitled to – you can find these on the gov.uk website.
Care standards The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is a national organisation whose job it is to ensure that all care and support services meet acceptable and lawful standards. This is to ensure the safety, health and wellbeing, security and personal dignity of all people who receive paid care and support. All care homes, home care providers and health care providers are required to register with the CQC. They are regularly inspected and monitored to ensure that they meet national standards.
You can find out more about care standards as well as viewing the latest inspection reports of local care providers at the CQC website.
Managing someone else’s affairs There are different ways of managing someone’s affairs, for example:
Third party mandate
Ordinary power of attorney
Lasting power of attorney
Court appointed deputy
Which option is appropriate depends on whether the person you are looking after can currently make their own decisions (which is called having mental capacity) or whether they are unable to make their own decisions (which is called lacking mental capacity).
Juggling work and care can be very challenging, so it’s important to find out about your rights.
Your rights in work come from two sources:
The law gives you ‘statutory rights’ which everyone has
Your contract of employment gives you ‘contractual rights’ which can be more generous than statutory rights
Your statutory rights in work
Your right to request flexible working
Discrimination under the Equality Act 2010
Time off in emergencies
The right to parental leave
Find further information about your statutory rights in work on the Carers UK website here. The information on that site covers the rights that may be of interest to you as a carer. However, for information on more of your statutory rights you can view the gov.uk website.
Your contractual rights It is always worth checking your contract of employment, staff handbook, HR policies or letter of appointment to see if you have any contractual rights on top of your statutory rights.
Getting back to work As a carer, you may have taken a break from work due to your caring responsibilities. A number of local organisations can support you with accessing opportunities to return to work or education following a break. Take a look at our education and work information.
Caring for someone can be a full-time job so breaks are vital to your own wellbeing and quality of life. If you’re unable to leave your family member of friend on their own, someone else might be able to look after them.
What is a respite break? A respite break simply means taking a temporary break from caring. There are different types of respite that you may wish to consider:
Asking a trusted friend or family member to look after the person you care for
Paying a care agency to provide support in the home. This can be privately arranged or you may ask the Council for assistance
Shared Lives support where the person you care for lives with another family on a temporary basis
Respite (short breaks) in a care home. This can be privately arranged or you may ask the Council for assistance
For further information on accessing respite care, types of respite care and paying for respite care, view our respite and short breaks page.
Assistive technology (also known as telecare) is a range of equipment and services that support people’s safety and independence in their own home.
Carecall The council’s personal alarm service, Carecall, can help you to live independently at home. It ensures people can get help as quickly as possible in case of an emergency. By pressing a button (worn as a pendant or on your wrist) you can trigger an alarm that will contact the Carecall control centre 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Carecall alarms can cost as little as £3.50 per week.
You can contact Carecall directly to request an alarm on 01925 458000 or by email email@example.com.
Telecare Telecare is a range of equipment and services that support an individual’s safety and independence in their own home. The equipment can sense risks such as smoke, floods and gas leaks, can remind a person to take pills and even call for help if they fell. You can view a range of telecare equipment at the Centre for Independent Living. For independent advice on telecare, see the WHICH? Guide to telecare services.
Home adaptations and equipment There is a range of equipment available and adaptations to a home which can be made to help an individual remain in their home. These can be: small items that are widely available, such as electric tin openers and travel kettles; more specialist items such as bath seats, or perching stools; larger items such as stair lifts; minor property adaptations such as grab rails; or (for those with greatest need) major adaptations such as walk-in showers.
Disabled Facilities Grants The person you care for may be eligible for a Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) if they’re disabled and need to make changes to their home. Grants are means tested and therefore targeted at people on low incomes. Find out more about Disabled Facilities Grants, the application process, low cost loans, adaptations loan and relocation loans here.
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