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Support for carers

Being a carer can have a significant impact on your own health and emotional wellbeing. To provide safe and effective care for the person you’re supporting, you need to make sure your own needs are being met. It’s vital that you have access to the right information, advice, and support when you need it.

What is a carer?

A carer is anyone who provides regular care and support to a partner, relative, or friend who needs help with everyday tasks.

A carer can be an adult or a child (known as a young carer) and would usually provide unpaid care. Many people in a caring role don’t always view themselves as being a carer. They see themselves as being a partner, parent, relative or friend to someone who needs support.

However, it’s important to acknowledge your role as a carer to ensure that you’re getting the right help, advice, and support.

If you’re a carer, you should ask yourself:

  • How being a carer affects you and the person you care for
  • How much care and support you provide
  • Where you can access information and advice
  • What help and support is available to you
  • If the person you care for qualifies for support
Types of support for carers

There is a wide range of support available for carers across the UK. Types of support available include mental health support, peer support and financial support.

Carers can also access support from their GP, local carers’ organisations, and social care departments in their local council.

Finding local support for adult carers

Search the directory on Carers UK to find support services in your area. The directory contains information and contact details for local carers’ organisations across the UK and social care departments in local councils.

Finding local support for young carers

Young carers need support to help them cope with the increased pressures they may be experiencing because of their caring responsibilities, as well as their everyday life.

Children’s charity Barnardo’s provides a range of resources, tools, videos, and support to families with young carers. Find a local service by entering your town or postcode.

Carers Trust can also provide tailored guidance, resources, and specialist support if you are a young carer. Find a local carer service on their website.

The Children’s Society has resources and support services for young carers. Find your local young carers’ project on their website.

Identifying your needs through a carer’s assessment

A carer’s assessment helps your local council to identify your needs, how you are coping, what help you may need, and to consider suitable options to help support you, such as respite care.

A carer’s assessment is not the same as a care needs assessment. A care needs assessment is about the person who needs care, not the carer.

How to get a carer’s assessment

If you are aged 18 or over and provide regular unpaid care and support to a partner, relative, or friend, you are legally entitled to a carer’s assessment. This assessment is free and is provided by your local council or local authority.

If you’re parent carer who provides extra care and support to your child, or children, because of disability or illness, you can request a parent carer’s needs assessment. Find out more about a parent carer’s needs assessment on the Family Rights Group website.

If you’re a young carer, under 18 years old, who provides regular unpaid care and support to a family member, you or your parent or guardian can request a young carer’s needs assessment. Carers First has detailed information about getting a young carer’s assessment on their website.

Contact your local council’s social care department to request a carer’s assessment, parent carer’s needs assessment or a young carer’s needs assessment.

England: find your local authority adult social care services on the NHS website.

Scotland: find your local social work and care services on MyGov.Scot.

Wales: find your local authority on Gov.Wales

Your local carers centre will also be able to advise you on how to request a carer’s assessment.

Mental health support for carers

Caring for someone living with a muscle wasting condition can often mean adjusting to a new and unexpected reality. Whilst caring for someone can be a very positive and rewarding experience, it can also lead to a range of changing emotions, which may be difficult to cope with and could impact your mental wellbeing.

It’s important that every carer has access to the right support when it is needed. Speak to your GP surgery if you’re experiencing problems with your mental health. Your doctor is likely to ask you some questions about your life and might ask you to fill out a questionnaire about your mood, thoughts, and behaviour. This can help them decide what kind of support might be most beneficial for you.

The mental health charity Mind has information and tips on their website for looking after your mental health and where you can find support as a carer.

Where to find peer support as a carer

Talking to someone who understands what you’re going through, and has lived experience of being a carer, can be so helpful.

We provide peer support, over the phone or by email, through our trained peer support volunteers. They have first-hand experience of caring for a family member living with a muscle wasting condition and they understand the importance of having a confidential and safe space to talk about the things that matter to you.

To request peer support, fill in our online form, call our helpline on 0800 652 6352 or email us

Financial support for carers

If you’re providing regular, unpaid care to a partner, relative, or friend, you may be entitled to financial support.

How to check if you are eligible for financial support

Understanding which benefits to apply for can be challenging. Where possible, seek specialist advice for more support. Here are three ways to check what you may be entitled to:

1. Benefits calculator
Check what benefits or financial assistance you’re entitled to by using a free and confidential benefits calculator. You’ll need to include information about yourself and your finances to get an estimation of the benefits you may get. Turn2Us has a benefits calculator, or you can use the benefits calculator on entiltedto.

2. Contact your local Welfare Rights Service

Contact a local welfare benefits organisation who have specialist advisors that can provide you with free and confidential advice. Find the details of your local Welfare Rights Service and local organisations through your local council.

3. Contact Citizens Advice

Citizens Advice will be able to give you information and advice on what financial support you’re eligible for, as well as help with the application process. Find your nearest Citizens Advice or contact them via telephone or email.

Check the benefits for carers that you may be entitled to 

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