Do you provide help and support to a partner, relative, child, friend or neighbour who could not manage without your help due to physical or mental illness, disability, frailty or addiction?
If so, you are a Carer
Anyone can become a carer at any age - children and young people, parents, daughters, sons, spouses, partners and friends. Many people don't think of themselves as carers; they just look after someone close to them. Caring often just happens to you, as you find that someone close to you gradually needs more help. There are thousands of unpaid carers in Bristol. You may be a carer whether or not you live in the same house as the person you care for. If you receive a Carers Allowance or a direct payment to enable you to buy a service or equipment to help you in your caring role you are still a carer. If the person you care for, moves to live in a residential or nursing home you may still be a carer if you spend time managing their affairs and making sure that they are well cared for. People employed to give care, i.e. care assistants, care workers, nursing staff etc, are not included in this definition of carers, nor are people who work for organisations on a voluntary basis.
Look after your own health
As a carer, it is important that you look after your own health so that you can go on caring for as long as you want to. It is easy not to look after your own health when you are looking after someone else. We want to be able to do all we can to try to help you to stay as fit and healthy as possible. We will do our best to help you look after yourself as well as the person you care for.
Tell people at work you are a carer
Juggling work and looking after someone can be difficult. Having an understanding and knowledgeable employer or manager can make this easier. Telling work you are a carer is not always an easy step and you might feel it depends on whether your employer is likely to be supportive. However, there may be existing support you are not aware of, colleagues may be supportive or they may even be in a similar caring situation themselves. As a carer you have the legal right to request flexible working to help you balance caring and work responsibilities - your employer has to seriously consider this request. You also have the right to take a ‘reasonable’ amount of time off work to deal with an emergency involving a dependent however it is at the employer’s discretion whether this leave is paid or unpaid. This right includes some protection from victimization and dismissal.
Talk to someone about how being a carer affects you
Whether it’s a friend, family member, community worker, GP, nurse or other professional, many carers find it useful to be able to ‘off load’ the stresses and strains that caring can bring. It is important to be aware of the affect that caring has on you and your own health. Talking about this can help in itself or be the first step to getting the support that you need.
Support is available from the Carers Support Centre
This is a charity which provides support, information and advice to carers of any age living in the Bristol and South Gloucestershire areas. They provide a range of services such as:
- help with Carers assessments
- advice on what benefits you or the person you care for might be entitled to
- free specialist counselling, telephone befriending services and carers groups that meet regularly across the city to share practical ideas, support and friendship
- volunteer sitting service, pamper days and subsidized carers holidays to give carers some time off from caring
If you think you might benefit from having a Carers Assessment or would like other information, advice or support to help you in your caring role, visit their website or call their helpline, Carersline on 0117 965 2200
Other local Carers Services can be found via the search function on NHS Choices
Please also see our Carers Information page for details of the Carers Direct helpline and other information that may support you in your caring role.
We keep a register of carers who are our patients so that we can support you better. Please read our Carer Leaflet (2 page pdf) and use our online form to register with us. Or you can ask at Reception for printed copies of these documents. If you stop being a Carer, please let us know so that we can update our records.
We recommend you apply for a Carer's Emergency Card