What is a carer?
A carer is anyone who cares, unpaid, for another person who cannot cope without support in their day-to-day life.
Carers can be any age and their reason for taking on a carer role can vary massively. They could be caring for a partner, child, relative, friend or even a neighbour for any number of reasons: physical illness or disability, learning difficulties, mental health problems or frailty to name but a few.
Caring is not just about personal care like washing or going to the toilet. Doing daily household tasks, providing personal care (bathing, dressing etc) and offering emotional support are all roles that a carer may take on.
It’s important to both realise and accept you may be more than just a parent/parent/child and may also be a carer. If people don’t know you are a carer, you won’t get the information and support you need to help you in your caring role.
Young carers (under 18)
Some people start caring at a very young age, often for a parent or sibling, and don’t realise they are carers. We believe that young carers have the same rights and opportunities as all children and young people and should be able to learn, achieve, develop friendships and enjoy positive, healthy childhoods just like other children.
If you or someone you know is a carer or a young carer, there is support available, the details of which are set out in one place – please visit the Carers’ Support section of the Health Portal.
Caring isn’t just a role, it can become an identity. So, no longer being a carer can leave a huge gap in life which can be difficult to fill. Life can be very different to what it was before and it may take time to adjust. The circumstances of the change may also affect how quickly you adapt and people may have to cope with grief and bereavement. Our article “Is there life after caring?” has some tips on how to adjust.
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