Don't be afraid to ask for help
Caring for someone can take a lot of time and energy. If caring is affecting your own health and wellbeing, it’s probably time to seek help. Sometimes it's just not possible to do everything yourself. 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.
For example, 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.
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?
- Organising home care: there are a range of care services (available via the local authority or privately) that can help with everyday tasks in your loved one’s own home, 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 loved one might benefit from help, search our care services directory to find home care providers in their local area.
- Needs assessment: has your friend or 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’s social care services 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.
- Financial support: there are certain state benefits specifically for carers, such as Carer’s Allowance or Carer’s Credit. Find out more in our Benefits for carers guide.
- 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 loved one needs help with, and who is available when. It might be helpful to draw up a rota so that people commit to a regular time slot, rather than working on an ad hoc basis.
- 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 them to live with you, read the our advice about sharing a home.
We explain what it means to be a carer and the many ways that the UK’s 6.5 million carers provide help and support.
If you care for a loved one, it can be easy to forget about your own needs. Find tips on how to look after yourself.
Caring can be lonely at times, but talking to others can help. Find out where to go for further advice and support.