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Getting help with caring

We explain your options for additional support if you’re struggling to provide care for a partner, relative or friend.
3 min read
In this article
Don’t be afraid to ask for help  Seven ways to get support Take time to care for yourself

Don’t be afraid to ask for help 

Caring for someone can take up a lot of time and energy. And sometimes it’s just not possible to do everything yourself. 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 it would be better for some of the caring responsibilities to be taken over by a professional. 

For example, if you have a job or a young family to look after, or you live a long way away, you might not be able to give your relative or friend all the care 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 take care of everything. 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.

Receive expert guidance on caring for older people. Our emails are free and you can stop them any time.

Seven ways to get support

Here are some important ways you can get help as a carer. Click on the links to read more about any options that might be right for you.

1

Book a 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.

2

Organise home care: arranging professional care in your loved one’s own home is an increasingly popular solution. Home care services can help with a wide range of everyday tasks, such as personal care, getting out of bed and dressed in the morning, preparing food and helping with medication. Care can be arranged via the local authority or privately.

Use our directory to find local home care agencies anywhere across the UK.
3

Get a carer’s assessment: if you care for someone, ask your local a council for an assessment of your own needs to find out if you’re eligible to receive support. The assessment looks at your needs and how caring impacts your life. It can help you get access to financial and practical assistance.

4

Look into financial support: there are some state benefits specifically for carers, such as Carer’s Allowance or Carer’s Credit. Find out more in our Benefits for carers guide.

5

Take a break: sometimes what you need most is a temporary break from your caring responsibilities. Respite care can benefit you and the person you care for.

6

Team up with family and friends: are there any other family members or friends living nearby who could 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 everyone can agree on a regular schedule.

7

Would moving home help?: if your loved one is struggling to cope alone, it might be time to start a conversation about other housing options. Our guides on sheltered housing and care homes give more details about some of those options. Also, if you’re considering inviting them to live with you, read our advice about sharing a home.

Use our calculator to find out how much you'll pay for care in your area and what financial support is available.

Take time to care for yourself

If you’re a carer, it can be difficult to find time for yourself, but your own health and wellbeing are just as important. And you’ll be able to provide better help and support if you are happy and well yourself. Although it’s easier said than done, making time for your own interests can do you the world of good. 

Read our practical guide on how to look after yourself.

Further reading

What is a carer?

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.

Carer’s assessment

If you care for someone, you can arrange a carer’s assessment to find out if you’re eligible for support.

Looking after yourself

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.

Last updated: 25 Nov 2019