Getting Started as a Carer
Am I A Carer?
A carer is anybody who regularly looks after or cares for a family member or friend who would have
difficulty managing without their support and is not paid to do this (you are still classed as unpaid if you claim Carers Allowance). The person could need your support due to disability, illness, mental health needs and many other reasons.
Do you help a partner, family member, child, friend or neighbour who:
- Has special educational needs or a disability
- Is frail or has mobility needs
- Has a mental health need or substance misuse problem
- Has a long-term health condition including dementia/Alzheimer’s
- Has a sensory impairment
- Can’t manage without your regular help
- You are not paid for the help you provide them (claiming Carers Allowance isn’t classed as being paid)
- You are living with or living apart from the person you look after
- You help them on a regular basis
They might need help with:
- Getting washed and dressed or using the toilet
- Eating and drinking or shopping
- Managing their health – e.g. arranging or going to appointments, taking their medication
- Managing their paperwork or finances e.g. budgeting, paying their bills, dealing with letters
- Cleaning at home
If any of the above apply to you then you are probably a carer. There is a lot of information and support available for you either through this website or one of the local charities who are here for you.
Below are some of the first steps that you can take to help to make sure that you get the support you need as a carer.
Register as a carer with your GP
Making your GP aware you are a carer means that they can keep an eye on your health and offer support and advice. You may also be eligible for things like free flu jabs. Taking care of your own health is important for you but also the person you care for.
Get a Carers Assessment or Parent Needs Assessment
A carer’s assessment can help you to talk through what you may need to help you with your caring responsibilities and get information and support. You may find out about local services, be able to access breaks from caring or be eligible for equipment to help you. To find out more about carer’s assessments and how to get one, visit our Carer’s Assessment page (link to internal page)
Find places for support
Being a carer can be difficult but there is a lot of support available. There are many national charities who provide information and support as well as a lot of local Bexley organisations who could help. You will find links to national charities throughout this website and can visit our Places of Support page to find local organisations. There may also be family members or friends who can support you, whether they can provide a listening ear or help you to take a short break from your caring role.
Find out about benefits you may be entitled to
There are many different benefits that you or your loved one could access. Our Benefits and Work page has more information and links to a benefit calculator to help you see what you may be entitled to
Apply for Carer’s Allowance
If you care for someone for at least 35 hours a week and have an income of less than £123 a week you may be able to claim Carer’s Allowance. This is a payment to help you in your caring role. You can find out more about Carer’s Allowance and how to apply on our Benefits and Work page
Make sure the person that you care for has a care needs assessment
A care needs assessment will identify what support the person you care for may need and can help to take some of the pressure off of you as their carer. There is more information about how to arrange a care needs assessment in Bexley on our Carer’s Assessments page.
Age UK have made a useful checklist for carers which you can download here