Leaflet: Do you look after someone?
Support for you if you are a carer
2021/22 edition (IL04)
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Who is a carer?
If you look after, help or support someone who wouldn’t be able to manage everyday life without your help, you are a carer.
You don’t have to live with the person, and the help you give doesn’t have to be physical care – it might be emotional support, or more practical help. You may be caring for a partner, another family member, a friend or a neighbour. This includes young carers who look after an adult family member.
The person you look after, help or support might:
- be an older person
- have a physical disability
- have a long term health condition
- live with a mental health condition
- have issues with substance misuse
- have a learning disability, or autism
If you look after, help or support an adult, but are not paid for doing so, this leaflet is for you.
Caring for a child or young person with a disability or special educational needs
If you are caring for a child who needs care and support, contact:
Amaze – Special Educational Needs & Disability Information, Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS) East Sussex
If you are a parent carer of a disabled child up to age 18 you can ask for a carer’s assessment. See Parent carer assessment for more information.
Care for the Carers also provide some courses and activities for parent carers of disabled children.
Assessing your support needs
If you provide unpaid support to someone who could not manage without your help, the law says you have a right to your own assessment, even if the person you care for has refused an assessment of their own needs.
Your carer's assessment will look at your needs, strengths, wider support network and community, as well as the difficulties you’re experiencing – and work with you to find solutions.
If you need help completing your carer's assessment yourself, Care for the Carers can help you. See Care for the Carers contact details.
To confirm if you are eligible for support we use ‘eligibility criteria’ set by the government. There are three questions that we will ask in relation to eligibility for carers:
- Are your needs the result of you providing necessary care?
- Does your caring role have an effect on you? This could be an effect on your physical or mental health, or that caring prevents you from doing something that is important to you. We call these outcomes and these are listed below.
- Caring responsibilities for a child
- Providing care to other persons
- Maintaining a habitable home environment
- Managing and maintaining nutrition
- Developing and maintaining family/personal relationships
- Engaging in work, training, education or volunteering
- Making use of accessing necessary facilities or services in the community
- Engaging in recreational activities.
- Is there, or could there be, a significant impact on your wellbeing?
You do not need to have an assessment to be able to access carer support. There are range of organisations commissioned to support to carers. Get in touch with Care for the Carers for more information about what is available.
Supporting you to care
If you're struggling to look after the person you care for, it might be helpful for them to have their own social care needs assessment. If this shows they have eligible needs, we can discuss options available to support them and reduce some of your caring responsibilities.
Respite care allows you to take a break from caring, while the person you care for is looked after by someone else. Respite care is considered a service to the person you care for and they will have to have their own needs assessment to find out if they meet the ‘eligibility criteria’.
There are a range of respite care options that could be provided to support you and the person you care for. This can be:
- in the home of the person you care for
- in a residential or nursing home
- through activities in the community
These services are normally chargeable to the person receiving care.
You can find out more in the leaflet: What you will need to pay towards the cost of your care and support.
Respite for healthcare appointments and training
You can apply for funding to pay for respite care so you can attend your own healthcare appointments, for example the GP, dentist or hospital. We will cover the cost of replacement care for the person you support, so there is no extra cost to you or the person you care for.
You can also use this funding to attend training courses to help you in your caring role, such as first aid or dealing with stress.
For more information, and to apply for a health appointments respite grant contact Care for the Carers.
If the person you support has home care or respite at home arranged by us, you can contact the provider directly to arrange for a care worker to look after the person you care for while you are out, or to accompany you and the person you care for to the appointment.
You need to contact the provider in good time to allow them to arrange the replacement care. Please tell them as soon as possible if your appointment is changed or cancelled.
Telecare is a range of assistive technology to help vulnerable people live independently and give you peace of mind that the person you look after is safe and well.
The main unit can be linked to a variety of sensors that can detect problems, such as a fall, gas leak, power cut and much more.
It can also be used to remind the person you care for to take medicines, eat and drink regularly and other tasks. This will allow you to leave the house, go to work or get a good night’s sleep knowing you will be alerted if there is a problem.
TeleCheck is a personal, proactive phone service to ensure adults are supported to live safely and securely in their own community and maintain their wellbeing.
It offers a schedule of phone calls for up to six months. The calls could be welfare checks, prompts to eat or drink, reminders for medication or just a brief informal chat to relieve anxiety.
Please contact Adult Social Care.
Flexi TeleCheck gives carers access to short breaks without too much planning ahead. It can also provide a regular planned short break.
The carer can leave home for up to four hours at a time and the person they care for will receive reassuring phone calls from a trained operator. The person can have as many calls over this time as is appropriate
Get in touch with Care for the Carers for more information about the scheme.
Support for you
Back pain is common among carers. Even the simple task of helping someone to dress or move from a bed to a chair can take its toll on your back. If you have back pain, don’t ignore it, contact your GP for help and advice.
We can also refer you to an Occupational Therapy clinic for information and advice about protecting your back.
The clinics can help provide equipment and small adaptations around your home quickly to support the person you care for. Please contact us.
East Sussex Carer’s Card
As an unpaid carer you might worry about what would happen to the person you care for if you had an accident or were suddenly taken ill.
The East Sussex Carers Card is free to all carers looking after someone in East Sussex and enables you to set up an emergency plan with CRESS (Carers Respite Emergency Support Scheme) to include up to three people who could provide support in an emergency.
You can register your emergency plan either by contacting Care for the Carers, through Adult Social Care as part of your carer’s assessment or online via our website. See: Emergency respite.
Once registered you are given a card to carry with you which includes a 24/7 phone number to activate your plan at any time.
The Carer’s Card also offers carers savings and discounts at a variety of retail and leisure venues in East Sussex. Businesses that take part in the scheme may display a Carer’s Card sticker in their window.
For more information about the scheme and the businesses taking part, see Get a Carer's Card – Care for the Carers.
If you are aged under 18 and looking after a family member (such as a parent, brother or sister) then you are a considered to be a young carer. The family member you care for may have health concerns such as alcohol addiction, drug misuse, depression, personality disorders, Multiple Sclerosis or cancer.
Many young carers often do extra jobs in and around the home, such as cooking and cleaning or helping someone to get washed and dressed. Being a young carer can sometimes get in the way of concentrating on schoolwork or being able to get out and spend time with friends. It can impact on day-to-day living.
East Sussex Young Carers offer support to young carers aged 5 to 17. This can be information and advice, guidance and signposting through the Young Carers Hub. They also offer opportunities to meet other young people in similar situations, get support and have fun!
If you need it, you can also get face-to-face support from trained staff, and in some situations this can be for the whole family.
Making decisions for someone else
When you are caring for someone you may be required to make decisions on their behalf. A lasting power of attorney (LPA) is a legal document that lets someone appoint one or more people (known as ‘attorneys’) to help make decisions or to make decisions on their behalf.
This gives people more control over what happens if they can’t make decisions at the time they need to be made.
See Make decisions on behalf of someone to find information on how best to manage someone else’s affairs.
You can also see our factsheet: Information about managing someone’s affairs.
Keeping people safe
Everyone has a right to live a life free from abuse and neglect. Safeguarding adults is about how people can get help to stop abuse and neglect from happening.
Caring for another person can be very rewarding and also very demanding. Sometimes people who are receiving care can harm or abuse their carer. This may happen because they have a condition that changes their behaviour. When a carer is managing a challenging situation, this may lead to them abusing or neglecting the person they care for whether this is intentional or unintentional.
Abuse and neglect can come in many different forms, including:
- Physical abuse (includes being hit, slapped, kicked, pinched or misuse of medication)
- Domestic abuse (includes any incident or patterns of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members)
- Psychological or emotional abuse (includes being shouted at, ridiculed, bullied, threatened or controlled by intimidation or fear)
- Neglect and acts of omission (when medical, physical and / or emotional needs are ignored)
- Financial abuse (when someone misuses or steals money or property). This includes scams and being pressurised into giving people money or paying for things.
- Sexual abuse (includes any sexual activity that someone does not agree to or cannot agree to)
- Organisational abuse (includes neglect and poor professional practice in a care setting such as a hospital, care home, or in a person’s own home)
- Self-neglect (when a person is unable and / or unwilling to care for themselves or allow others to do so)
- Modern Slavery (this can take many forms including but not limited to slavery, sexual exploitation, forced labour, domestic servitude)
- Discriminatory abuse (occurs when people are harassed, insulted or treated badly because of age, culture, mental health needs, disability, gender, race, sexual orientation or religion or belief).
How you can report abuse and neglect
If a crime is in progress, it's an emergency or if life is at risk, call 999. To report a crime when it is not an emergency call 101.
If you have a concern about someone else, let the person know that help is available and talk to them about what they want to do.
If you suspect abuse or neglect, contact us on 0345 60 80 191 at any time (calls outside our opening hours will be connected to the Emergency Duty Service).
What will happen next?
We will always take any report of abuse or neglect seriously and will ensure the circumstances are looked into fully, in a fair and confidential way.
- talk with the person who is at risk to find out what they want to happen in relation to the concern
- support the person to have an advocate (someone to represent them) if they need one
- talk to the police if a crime may have been committed
- talk to other agencies that need to be involved
- agree the best way of helping, including considering other types of support
What can I do for myself?
This is a checklist of things to consider doing to help yourself in your caring role. It includes tips from carers who often tell us that they wish they had done these things earlier in their caring role.
Look after yourself
Caring can be exhausting and it is important to look after your own health and to make time for yourself. If you struggle to attend your own health appointments because of your caring role, you can access the Healthcare appointments respite funding.
The internet is full of information, support and discussion forums relating to carers. There are also ‘apps’ you can download on your smartphone or tablet that can help you to make the most of technology, this includes using apps to help with your caring role. A good first step is to decide what area of your life you might need help with and then search the app store to see what is available. Many apps are free or very cheap but make sure you check before you download!
Care for the Carers offers access to free digital resources, including resources for young adult carers. The Jointly app, available free through Care for the Carers, helps you to share and co-ordinate caring, inviting others to join a ‘circle of care’ for the person you care for.
Visit Digital resources – Care for the Carers to find out more and register to receive your free digital access code.
Tell your GP
Tell your GP that you are a carer. This can be recorded on your medical records and you may be eligible for additional support like a free flu vaccination or health check.
You should also inform your GP if you are experiencing stress, anxiety or depression due to your caring role.
Register for online services with your GP so that you can:
- book and cancel appointments
- order repeat prescriptions
- look at your medical records
Include your family and friends
Coping alone may have an impact on your health. Many carers turn to family and friends for support, and to help them to take a break from caring.
Let people at work know
Continuing to work whilst caring can help you to have a better balance in your life and provide you with social interaction outside of your caring role, but it can also be daunting.
You are likely to need a range of support at different times. It might be helpful to talk to your employer about taking some time off or working flexibly. Your employer may already have advice and support in place for employees with caring responsibilities.
Many carers consider giving up work, but it is important to understand the implications this could have on your income, quality of life and future pension entitlements.
Find out more about caring for someone whilst working, including your rights at work, at Carers UK.
Make sure you and the person you care for are receiving the right benefits
If you need help with a benefits issue, are struggling to pay bills or are worried about growing debt, contact the welfare benefits helpline. It's open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm:
Phone: 0333 344 0681
Some energy and water suppliers will cap your bills if there is someone in the household receiving a qualifying benefit. Contact your supplier to see if you or the person you care for qualify. This can be particularly helpful for people who may use more heating or water as a result of their illness or disability.
If you are living with or caring for someone with cancer, Macmillan Cancer Support can provide free and confidential benefits advice.
Connect with the East Sussex Carers Centre
The Carers Centre run by Care for the Carers is the single access point for all local carer services. Care for the Carers provides information, advice and guidance for carers, runs an accredited counselling service and hosts support groups and activities across the county. They can help you to access the wide range of support available from other organisations.
Getting in touch with services or meeting with other carers can help to reduce the isolation you might experience as a carer. It provides a good opportunity to get advice from other people in a similar situation.
Other support available
East Sussex carers’ directory
The council and the East Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group fund a range of organisations that can support you to look after or improve your own health and wellbeing. You can get information and helpful support from the organisations listed by getting in touch with them directly. See Carers’ directory.
East Sussex 1Space
East Sussex 1Space is an online directory of care, support and wellbeing services, from formal health and social care organisations through to local community groups and initiatives.
Website: East Sussex 1Space
If you are caring for someone who can’t be left alone, East Sussex Library and Information Services can help you use their services.
You can also use computers and access the internet for free at your local library. Computer buddy volunteers at the libraries can help people to use computers and the internet, and may also be able to help you with your own device too.
Care Choices produces directories of care services, which includes advice on choosing a care home.
Support with Confidence
The Support with Confidence scheme can help you find care and support services that you can trust. All people, businesses and organisations have been checked and approved for quality, safety and staff training.
Phone: 01323 463 440
Email: Support with Confidence Team
Care Quality Commission
You can also get information on care providers from the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the organisation that regulates health and social care services.
Website: Care Quality Commission
Phone: 03000 61 61 61
Supply Management Team
The Supply Management Team in Adult Social Care can advise you about arranging respite care if the person you look after pays for their own care and support.
Email: Adult Social Care Supply Management team
Phone: 01323 464 060
East Sussex Community Information Service (ESCIS)
ESCIS is a website full of local and community information, developed and managed by East Sussex County Council.
Carers UK is a national charity providing information and advice to carers and the professionals who support carers.
Carers Trust is a national charity providing help and advice to carers.
Macmillan Cancer Support
If someone you care about has been diagnosed with cancer, find out about the support available and get information about different cancer types.
Website: Macmillan Cancer Support
Phone: 0808 808 00 00 (8am to 8pm, 7 days a week)
Carers Voices Network
The Carers Voices Network is facilitated by Care for the Carers and helps carers play an active part in planning, developing, monitoring and evaluating services.
Through focus groups, an annual conference and regular consultations, the network attends relevant local service planning and development groups. It allows carers to have their say on the important issues that affect them and also informs Care for the Carers’ strategic work speaking up, with and for carers.
For more information on the Carers Voices Network contact Care for the Carers.
Small grants for carers groups
Small grants, up to £500 per year, are available for groups to fund projects, events, activities or training which directly benefit carers. Application forms can be found at Small grants available for carers services.
The People Bank
If you would like to be involved in shaping our services, we are always looking for new members to join the People Bank. The People Bank is a database of volunteers who have an interest in our services. Membership is voluntary and there are many ways you can be involved. Once you have joined and told us how you’d like to be involved, the People Bank team will be able to match you with opportunities when they are available. To find out more:
If you want to make a complaint or give feedback about your experience of social care
We want to provide high quality services for everyone in East Sussex, so it’s always helpful when you tell us what you think.
If you want to make a complaint, a good start is to contact the person or team who has been involved in the situation you want to complain about. They will try to sort things out quickly.