Looking after someone
Who is a carer?
A carer is someone who provides unpaid help and support to a family member, parent, friend, partner, child or neighbour who could not manage without their help. This applies to children, young carers and adults looking after an adult.
The person you care for may have a disability, a physical or mental illness, be frail, or have alcohol or drug-related problems.
You might not think of yourself as a carer, but rather as a family member or friend who looks after someone. If you’re a carer, you may be able to get financial and practical support from the Council, health services and voluntary organisations.
Caring responsibilities can affect the way you live your own life. It’s important to remember that, even though you are caring for someone else, you need to take care of yourself too.
A Young Carer is a child or young person aged between 5 and 18 years looking after someone in their family who, due to illness, disability, mental health problems or alcohol or drug related problems, could not manage without their support. Young carers take on practical or emotional caring responsibilities that would usually be expected of an adult.
Caring responsibilities can have negative effects on a child or young person’s life. Young carers may carry out some or all of the following: domestic tasks, household management, personal care, emotional care, financial management or practical care.
Support for Carers
Caring for someone can be stressful. You can experience a wide range of conflicting emotions. Feelings of isolation, guilt, anger or depression are common. Having someone to talk to about how you feel can make all of the difference.
You can get emotional support from a number of places in Newcastle. Don’t forget you can talk to the key workers involved with the person you care for. For example, their social worker, doctor, community or district nurse
Newcastle Carers helps adults and children with information, advice and support. They run various support groups for carers, offering a chance to take a needed break, meet people in similar situations who can understand and get helpful information.
Young carers can get support at Newcastle Carers. They provide individual and group support for young carers as well as advice for their family.
Dementia and memory cafes are a supportive environment where people with dementia and their carers can socialise.
Support groups are available locally, where you can speak to other people facing the same issues as you and share your experiences.
Telephone helplines and talking therapies are available in Newcastle if you need to speak to someone about how you’re feeling. Read more on our mental health article
Look after your health
When you are caring for someone else, it is very easy to forget about your own health. It’s really important to look after yourself, so that your own health doesn’t suffer.
If you are caring for someone who has been discharged from the Newcastle Hospitals NHS Trust contact Newcastle Carers for help and support. You can read more about Leaving Hospital on InformationNOW. You can also email email@example.com
Don’t forget to tell others that you’re a carer. They can offer additional support or flexibility to help you manage your caring role. For example you can tell your:
- doctor: Ask your GP to note that you are a carer on your medical record. Your doctor can provide you with more help and understand how caring is effecting your health
- employer, school or education provider: so they know that you have caring responsibilities that may affect your work, attendance and ability to concentrate
Take a break
Caring can be rewarding, but it can be stressful and tiring. You may need to take a break. To be able to have a break you may need someone else to be with the person you care for. To take a break you could arrange for a family member, neighbour or friend to be with the person you care for. Or you could use a support service such as:
- employ a Personal Care Assistant
- use a homecare agency to provide a sit in service or home care
- arrange a short stay (respite care) in a residential care homes
- day centres and services can offer the person you care for the chance to socialise with other people. These services usually offer some care or support, a meal and transport to and from the venue
- arrange a supported or accessible holiday or short break using a specialised private service
There is a cost for these services listed above. The person you care for may be eligible for financial help from Newcastle City Council, to help pay for support.
Speak to Community Health & Social Care Direct at Newcastle City Council to find out if you are eligible for financial help. Even if you are not eligible they can give you advice. They may be able to arrange support for the person you care for, so that you can have a break.
If you receive a Carers Break personal budget you could spend it on respite care, short term replacement care, a holiday together or a holiday alone. Read the Easy Read leaflet on newcastle.gov.uk
Newcastle Emergency Carer’s Card Scheme can arrange for planned support to allow carers to attend personal appointments. They also offer a range of support at home services. This is provided by British Red Cross in partnership with Newcastle City Council.
Newcastle Carers offer a Complementary Therapy service to carers, such as massage and aromatherapy. This is a low cost service to help you look after your health and wellbeing. Have a look at their booklet looking after you
Advice and training to help you in your caring role can help you to look after yourself and the person you care for. You may benefit from learning how to lift someone safely so you don’t hurt yourself.
Patient Information Centre has a range of mental health self help guides such as mindfulness.
Carers UK has a range of online resources for carers
Community Health and Social Care Direct at Newcastle City Council can give you information and advice about adult social care issues. If you’re finding it harder to manage at home, you can call them to find out more about local help.
NHS.UK has lots of online information about health conditions and support for carers
Managing at home
Some changes to your home or pieces of equipment may help to make life easier for you and the person you care for. Read more on InformationNOW about:
- Home adaptations, equipment and aids
- Telecare, telehealth and personal alarm systems
- How to pay for adaptations to your home
Your rights as a carer
- benefits and other financial help: including help with council tax, fuel costs, pensions and health costs
- practical help: including carer’s assessments and direct payments
- technology: information about health and care technology that could make life easier
- your workplace: your rights at work, from flexible working and parental leave to protection from discrimination
- other help: how to find other help nationally and in your local community
Making decisions on someone’s behalf
If you are a carer, you might need to manage someone else’s affairs or make decisions on their behalf. If this is the case, you may find the following topics useful to read:
Carers UK have a series of factsheets with top tips from carers on managing health matters, power of attorney, and dealing with services from banks to utility providers.
Financial support for carers
Conversation about your caring role
A carers assessment is usually carried out by a social worker and offers you the opportunity to tell the Council about your caring role and the impact caring for someone is having on your own health and wellbeing.
Following your conversation/s, the Council will decide if you are eligible for support. This can be provided to you or the person you are looking after to reduce the impact caring has on you.
All carers, (even if you are not considered to be eligible for support) will be provided with information and advice on local services that can help to support you.
Contact Community Health & Social Care Direct to request a conversation about your caring role.
Paying for help and support
Depending on the outcome of your carers conversation, you may be eligible for a Direct Payment from the Council, also known as a carer’s personal budget.
This is a cash payment that enables you to pay for something that can help you in your caring role – for example, to pay for respite care, or for membership to a club that gives you time away from your caring role.
The Council may or may not charge you for carer’s services, depending on the support you need. However if they do decide to charge you they must carry out a financial assessment to determine how much you would need to contribute.
Benefits for carers
Caring for someone can be expensive. You may have given up work to be a carer, or the person you care for may have been the main breadwinner in the past. You may find yourself with less money to spend but more to pay out, for example, on heating bills, equipment or prescriptions.
You may be eligible to receive certain benefits depending on your situation. These could include:
To qualify for Carer’s Credit you must care for a total of 20 hours or more per week. The person you care for must receive:
- Disability Living Allowance care component at the middle or highest rate; or
- Attendance Allowance at any rate; or
- Constant Attendance Allowance at any rate
If none of these apply, Carer’s Credit can still be awarded if you supply a Care Certificate that is signed by a health or social care professional.
It is worth seeking advice about your benefits before you make a new claim, as this can sometimes affect the benefits you already receive. Organisations that can help include:
See Benefits for Carers an article from NHS.UK for more information.
Carers Wellbeing fund
You can apply for a small grant of up to £200 from The Carers Wellbeing Fund to pay for things that help to improve your health and wellbeing as a carer. The fund is currently open for applications.
Ask Newcastle Carers about support for young carers to study, work or participate in an apprenticeship.
Young Carer 6th Form Bursary Scheme
Young adult carers can apply for a bursary of £300 per year to help with the costs associated with caring while in education. This funding is available to help you reach your full potential. Newcastle City Council has allocated funding to the Young Carer 6th Form Bursary Scheme for the next 2 academic years.
Employing a care worker
If you need a bit of extra help you might want to employ a care worker to help with your caring responsibilities. You can either go through a home care agency or you can employ an individual care worker directly.
Employing an independent care worker requires more initial organising, but it is often a cheaper option than using a home care agency, and also means that the same person will provide the care each time.
Workplace Pensions for care workers
The law has changed so now every employer must now provide a workplace pension by April 2019. Whether you’re a hairdresser, an architect or employ a personal care assistant, if you employ at least one person you are an employer and you will need to set up a workplace pension for them.
The National Employment Savings Trust (NEST) is a government scheme to help people who don’t have an existing workplace pension.
It’s an ideal workplace pension scheme for small employers, especially for individuals who hire their own carers or assistants, because it’s free to sign up to NEST and there is no ongoing administration.
Disability North can support you with arranging a workplace pension and other administrative duties for your employed care staff. They can also support you with recruiting a Personal Care and Support Assistant and advertise Personal Assistant vacancies on your behalf.
If you are caring for someone and want to combine paid work with your caring responsibilities, there is a variety of help available from Jobcentre Plus including:
- training, guidance and work placement programmes
- work experience, volunteering and job trialling schemes
- help with starting your own business
- help combining work with looking after children or caring responsibilities
- extra help for specific problems
Planning for emergencies
Carers Emergency Contact Scheme is a free service, so the person you care for can be looked after if you have a personal crisis such as, an illness, accident or emergency. Your plan is kept safe and available in an emergency. You are given:
- help to write your emergency contact plan so they know what support the person you care for needs.
- a card to carry so other people and emergency services, know you’re a carer and someone relies on you
In an emergency, your plan can be put into action. Even if you already have an emergency plan with a friend, relative or neighbour, it’s a good idea to register online for the Carers Emergency Card Scheme.
British Red Cross run this scheme. It’s funded by Newcastle City Council.
Bottle in the fridge scheme helps store your personal and medical information in your fridge door, so it can found quickly by emergency services, if you have an accident or sudden illness at home. This simple and free idea could help to save your life. It is also useful to people who may not be able to give their health information to the emergency services. Carers can include information about the person they care for, so it can be given to emergency services and give you peace of mind.
Jointly is an app for your phone, tablet or computer that can help you keep organised and up to date with your caring roles and responsibilities. It has features such as group messaging, to do and medication lists and calendar.
If someone’s life is in danger always call 999.
To speak to someone urgently about your care and support needs, contact Adult Social Care at Newcastle City Council
Contact your social worker or the team that helps you, if you already receive support from Adult Social Care at Newcastle City Council. This could be the:
- Learning Disability and Autism Team, Telephone 0191 278 8100
- Mental Health Team telephone 0191 277 2355
If you are not sure if you have a social worker or need other advice, please call:
To speak to someone urgently 5pm to 8am, Monday to Friday or at weekends contact the Emergency Duty Team telephone 0191 278 7878
Carers UK provide information and guidance to unpaid carers. They run a telephone helpline, email service and have a library of online information. They can help you with a range of subjects. They offer online activities for carers such as meet ups to talk to others about your experiences, Carers Connect forum online community, Online activities for carers such as pilates, exercise, digital skills, art, films, yoga and wellbeing.
Bridgit Care is an online tool for unpaid family and friend carers. Helping to look after the mental, emotional and physical health of carers. Use the website to find: information, support, advice and local events and services
Family and friend carers
The Relative Experience Project gives help and support to Kinship Carers – grandparents and their family members who are bringing up a relative’s child, often in very difficult circumstances.
Caring for people with addictions
Props North East offer a carer support service to people affected by alcohol, drug or addiction problems.
Children and young carers
Barnardo’s is a children’s charity that run over 1,000 services in local communities, and support around 300,000 children, young people and families every year. This includes support for young carers.
People with learning disabilities
Rescare supports families who have loved ones with a learning disability. They are run by families for families. They have a telephone helpline where you can ask questions about being a family carer, health and social care, education, housing and more.
The Carents Room is a free online resource for people supporting and caring for older parents. It has a range of information and resources to help you keep your parents safe and well.
Independent Age have a national telephone helpline for advice on care, benefits, getting help at home and adapting your home. They can arrange a follow up appointment for more detailed discussions
HOOP is an independent, free service providing advice and information for older people, their families and carers about housing and care options in later life.
Beyond your caring role
Adjusting to life after caring for someone can be difficult. Supporting someone with illness or a life limiting condition can be intense. It may feel very strange if you become less involved for any reason.
If the person you care for dies and your caring role stops. You are dealing with bereavement and can feel a sudden loss of purpose. You may have put the rest of your life on hold and feel as if you have no focus left. If you have lost touch with family or friends while caring, you may feel lonely or isolated too.
When your caring responsibility ends, the toll on your body and emotional health may begin to show. As you let go of the caring role, you can find your energy disappears. You may experience a range of emotions from relief, low mood or guilt. This may be challenging. It is important to look after your own health. It’s a good idea to get a check-up with your GP. Even if you feel you are coping well, it can still be valuable.
InformationNOW has articles on:
- grief and bereavement
- when someone dies: a practical guide
- stress and anxiety
- support groups
Other useful information
Being Heard; a guide to self-advocacy for carers – Free guide from Carers UK
Carersmart is a discount club run by Carers Trust. It is free to sign up and you can get benefits including:
- cashback on shopping
- discounts on holidays
- free legal advice
- best rates from energy providers
Carer Friendly GP Surgeries in Newcastle
Accessible Information Standard
If you have a sensory loss or disability you are entitled by law to accessible information about your health care and support from the NHS and publicly funded social care services. For example this could include large print or a professional BSL interpreter at medical appointments.
- Find out your information needs
- Record them in a set way
- Highlight them in your records so that staff meet your needs every time you use services
- Share your information needs with other services e.g. if you give details to your GP then these can be shared with any hospital service you maybe referred to
- Make sure you get support the way you need including when your needs vary. For example you may need to receive short letters in large print but need longer documents on audio.
- Ask on a regular basis if your needs have changed
Remember – tell services this is your right to have your needs addressed and they have to do this by law (section 250 of the Health and Social Care Act 2012)
Read more from NHS England about the Accessible Information Standard.
Last updated: December 1, 2023