Unpaid or Informal Carers – advice for all
An unpaid or informal carer is anyone who cares, unpaid, for a friend or family member who due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction cannot cope without their support.
The causes of someone taking on caring responsibilities are varied but can include:
- serious physical illness
- long-term physical disability
- long-term neurological conditions
- mental health problems
- addiction or substance misuse
- learning difficulties.
Each carer’s experience will be unique to their own circumstances:
- someone in their seventies who cares 24/7 for their spouse with severe dementia is a carer
- a teenager who offers emotional support and helps to keep the household running as and when the fluctuating nature of their parent’s mental health requires it – is also a carer.
The two situations are very different, but both are examples of the 7 million carers in the UK today.
Support in Manchester
A Carer’s Assessment will identify the sorts of support which would be most beneficial to you as a carer – find out how to get one on the MCC website at www.manchester.gov.uk/caring_for_someone
The Carers Toolkit on Help & Support Manchester should support you to find the help and advice you need – visit at hsm.manchester.gov.uk
Connect to Support Manchester is an online assessment tool that can help identify what issues you may have and advise on the best service(s) to contact – find this at manchester.connecttosupport.org
The Open Dementia e-learning Programme is aimed at anyone who comes into contact with someone with dementia and provides a general introduction to the disease and the experience of living with it. This programme is designed to be accessible to a wide audience and includes a considerable amount of video footage shot by both the Alzheimer’s Society and the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) where people with dementia and their carers share their views and feelings on camera.
Find the e-learning on the SCIE website at www.scie.org.uk/e-learning/dementia
Top tips to help carers support a friend or family member:
- share information with them that is relevant to their situation
- find out if they need any help with translation or interpretation
- ask if they need support or advocacy when attending meetings
- if you signpost them to other services make sure the service is able to help them
- make sure they are fully involved in planning for their own care – and that of anyone they may look after
- respect them and talk to them as an ‘expert partner’ – value what they say and the things they suggest
- talk to them about planning for an emergency
- help them understand the welfare benefits ‘maze’ so that they can access all the benefits they are entitled to
- write down advice, information or instructions in case they find it difficult to remember everything that has been said.
Support and Advice
Sources of support and advice include:
- Carers Trust website at carers.org/
- Carers UK publication Carers Rights Guide Looking After Someone and other information can be found on their website at www.carersuk.org/looking-after-someone
- Carers UK Advice line on 0808 808 7777