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
  • Dementia
  • 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

Carers Manchester is a partnership of statutory and voluntary organisations, working together to improve services for Manchester’s unwaged carers. More information on their website:

Hello from Carers Manchester booklet and the Carers Manchester information leaflet provides information on support and guidance available to carers, free online workshops and a list of organisations in Manchester supporting unwaged carers.

Carers Assessment

A carers assessment looks at your physical and emotional needs as an unpaid carer. It is an opportunity to find out about what support or services you may need.

It is not a test and you will not be penalised for the care you provide.  Carers assessments are free of charge and designed to support you and the cared for.

If you are over 18 and look after another adult who is disabled, ill or elderly you are entitled to have a carers assessment. They are carried out by Manchester City Council’s adult social services department. Find out how to get one on the MCC website

For more information, visit You can also call us on 0151 543 8000 (Mon – Fri 10am – 4pm) or email

The Carers Toolkit on Help & Support Manchester should support you to find the help and advice you need – visit at

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

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

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: