Help for new carers – things you can do now
No-one is born a carer. We become carers at some point at our lives, sometimes as young people, sometimes later in life. Sometimes we are prepared, but sometimes it comes as a shock and upends our lives and our plans. It can be overwhelming. But remember, you are not alone.
If you find yourself becoming an unpaid carer, here are five things to now that could help you:
1. Get a carer's assessment
This is your chance to discuss what help you need so that you can maintain your health and balance your caring responsibilities with other areas of your life.
2. You might be eligible for Carer’s Allowance
Carer’s Allowance is a government benefit paid to some carers. It can be a big help, but unfortunately not everyone is eligible. It depends if you care for someone at least 35 hours a week, and if the cared-for person is getting certain benefits, for example Personal Independence Payment (PIP) or Disability Living Allowance (DLA). At the moment, Carer’s Allowance is £67.60 a week.
The best thing is to contact us and we can advise you how to get specialist advice on whether you may be eligible for Carer’s Allowance.
3. Let your doctor (GP) know that you are a carer
We encourage you to tell your local GP that you are carer. If you are not registered with a local GP, it is a good idea to register.
Your GP can advise you on aspects of your health and wellbeing, prescribe medicines, and refer you for specialist treatments. Remember to take care of yourself.
4. You can request flexible working
If you are working in a full-time or part-time job, or more than one job, and you have been there for more than 26 weeks, you are entitled to request flexible working from your boss. This means you can discuss a style of work which suits the organisation and you. Different companies have different schemes, so check with your employer.
5. Take a break from caring
We all need a break from caring from time to time. Taking a break is vital for your own wellbeing and allows you to be a better carer.
Your local council may be able to help you with ‘respite’ from care. This means the council can give you a short-term break by providing someone to take over for a short time. Once you have had your carer's assessment, you can apply for a Carer’s Personal Budget to help with taking a break. We can help you with this.