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If you’re struggling to provide care for a loved one on your own, or simply want to share the load, there is help and support available. We explain your options.

On this page we give you information about:

1. Asking for help
2. What are your options?

Asking for help

Caring for someone can take a lot of time and energy. It’s not always possible to do everything yourself. If you live a long way away, have a job or a young family to look after, you might not be able to give your relative or friend the care that they need. If they need specialist care, or their condition is getting worse, you might need to think about alternative care options.

If caring is affecting your own health and wellbeing, it’s probably time to seek help. By taking a look at the needs of the person you care for and your limitations, you might realise that it would be better for some caring jobs to be carried out by a professional.

Some carers see it as their responsibility to provide care for a loved one and feel guilty if they can’t help. But there’s no need to feel that way. If you take a step back from the caring role, you can still help the person you're caring for in other ways and give them love and emotional support, which is just as important.

What are your options?

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  • Domiciliary care: there are a range of care services (available via the local authority or privately) that can help with tasks such as personal care, getting out of bed and dressed in the morning, cooking during the day and picking up medicines from the pharmacy. If you think your relative might benefit from help, search our Care services directory to find domiciliary care providers in their local area.  
  • Needs assessment: has your relative had a care needs assessment from their local council? If not, contact their local authority to get one done. If they have eligible needs, they could qualify for free care services at home.
  • Carer’s assessment: have you approached the local authority for a carer's assessment? This looks specifically at the carer’s needs, and how caring impacts your own life. It can offer financial and practical assistance to carers with eligible needs.
  • Taking a break: if you’re looking for a temporary break from your caring responsibilities, you might benefit from Respite care.
  • Family and friends: are there any other family members or friends living nearby who could help with care? It can help to share the responsibilities. Discuss the tasks that your relative needs help with, and who is available when. It might be helpful to draw up a rota.
  • Moving home: if your friend or relative is struggling to cope alone, it might be time to consider other housing options. Our guides on Sheltered housing and Care homes give more details about those options. Also, if you're considering inviting your relative to live with you, read the guide Your relative moves in with you.

If you're looking for extra support emotionally and practically, the latest Carers UK magazine includes an article about sharing the load and a Q&A on juggling lots of roles when caring duties are getting worse.

Find home care locally

Search our Care services directory to find domiciliary care providers in your local area.

More information

Page last reviewed: July 2017
Next review due: January 2020