You may not think of yourself as one, but if you look after someone such as your spouse, a friend, relative or neighbour who would find it difficult to cope without your support, then you are a carer. This could be due to age, physical or mental illness, substance misuse or disability.
The term ‘carer’ doesn’t always mean a paid professional care-worker.
Still not sure?
Lots of people who are carers do not instantly recognise themselves as such; they often see the support they provide to a loved one as their duty, simply part of their daily routine. Others may be reticent about identifying themselves as a carer for fear of interference by outside agencies.
You don’t have to live with the person you look after, and it’s possible that you might be juggling caring with other responsibilities like work or looking after children. Each caring situation is unique and the amount of care that different carers give varies enormously. You may help a neighbour out each day with practical household tasks like shopping, cleaning or gardening - things that they can’t manage themselves. Or you may be providing complete physical or emotional care for someone who lives with you and is unable to help themselves. Either way you are a carer and there is help and support available to help you to care.
I'm a carer, am I entitled to any benefits?
Carers can access a range of benefits to help them support the person they look after. Read our factsheet on Benefits for Carers or speak to a Carer Support Advisor at your local Carers in Hertfordshire office.
How can I get a break from caring?
Carers who have regular breaks are more likely to be able to care for longer and stay fitter and healthier. Ask your GP about our Make a Difference service or speak to a Carer Support Advisor at your local Carers in Hertfordshire office, they'll tell you about other support that is available locally. You will find more information about breaks for carers here.
What is a Carer's Assessment?
A carer's assessment is a chance for you to talk about your needs as a carer and the possible ways in which you can receive support. We can help you to arrange an assessment. There is no charge for an assessment. Click here for more information on Carers' Assessments.
Can you help me to plan for an emergency?
Yes we can, we can help you draw up a back up plan, which will give you peace of mind in case of an emergency. Click here to find out more about making a back up plan.
What if the person I care for doesn’t want me to get support?
Our services are confidential - you don't need to have the permission of the person you care for to access them. We can work with you to find the best way to support you.
Do you run social activities for carers?
Our Carers Development and Learning Team run a series of courses and events for carers. They are a great way to learn new skills and make friends. Click here for more information about Carers Development and Learning Events.
I know a young person who cares for a family member - do you support young carers?
We run a Young Carers Project which provides support and actvities to give young carers a break from their caring role and a chance to have some fun. You can find out more about the project by clicking here.
How can I have a say on the services I receive?
It's really important that carers have their say on the services they use and the issues that affect them. Our involvement team provides opportunities for carers to have their say on issues at a local, countywide and national level. You can find out more about these here.