How can I get help?

You may feel that you need additional help to cope with being a carer. There is a range of options available for getting help and support.

Peer support

Social media like Facebook has been really helpful to get emotional support from friends.

“I wish I’d have had Twitter when I was younger, it would have been a great way to vent frustration and talk to others in a similar place.”

If you think you might need medical help or that you might be experiencing a mental health problem, the first step is usually to talk to your doctor. They will be able to talk about treatment options, which could include talking treatments or medication. Your doctor should also be able to help you identify ways of getting support, including local carers’ services and social care support.

Talking treatments

Talking treatments provide a regular time for you to talk about your worries and explore difficult feelings with a trained professional. You might find it particularly helpful to be given the space and time to talk about how being a carer affects you, without having to feel guilty for expressing parts that are difficult or frustrating. This can help you to deal with specific problems, cope with a crisis, improve your relationships or develop better ways of living.

Your doctor or social services will be able to give you more information and tell you how to find a therapist. Therapists will also be able to tell you about the kind of support they offer and whether it will be useful to you.

Respite care

You may be entitled to support to help you have a break from caring. This is known as respite care. It could happen regularly or as and when you need it.

Respite might include:

  • Your local authority arranging for someone to take over your caring responsibilities for an agreed period of time
  • Support for you, from a local authority or charity, to take a holiday
  • Paying a professional carer to look after the person you support so you can have a break, for a long or short period of time

If you have a carer’s assessment, it should include information about respite care. Some voluntary organisations also provide respite services.

Social services will be able to give you more details.

Social care support

Social services can provide support to you and the person you are caring for. They may be able to provide practical support or put you in touch with a support group.

The kind of support you are offered will depend on your needs and the needs of the person you care for, but could include:

  • Equipment
  • Technology such as adapted telephones or monitoring devices which help people stay as independent as possible
  • Respite care (see above)
  • Professional care workers, sometimes known as ‘home help’

Support at work

If you are finding it hard to balance paid employment and your caring responsibilities, you can ask your employer if you are entitled to flexible working arrangements. This could include going part time, changing your working pattern or job-sharing.

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