Information for carers

The charity Independent Age, which works with older people, has produced an easy to understand guide about support for carers.

Factsheet about carers' rights to social care

The Department of Health has produced a factsheet about carers' rights to assessment and support for social care.

Time out

I started running after the birth of my disabled daughter 8 years ago. It's my time out – time for me to de-stress, clear my head and take out my frustration on the streets! I come back a happier and calmer person, ready to deal with the real world again!

Friends and hobbies

Friends and hobbies are enormously important when you are a family carer – especially when they take you out of your role as a carer for a short while. I try and mix with people who aren't carers too, so I get to focus on something else for a bit.

Schedule time for yourself

Try to schedule time for yourself, take advantage of any help that is offered and look into other services that can offer you respite. Some carers groups offer relaxation nights, massages etc. You need to keep yourself healthy if you are going to care for someone long term.

Stress-busting activities

I always try and do some sort of stress-busting activity, like yoga or T'ai chi, as I find it gives me energy and peace to deal with my everyday caring role.

Do a happiness audit

Think about what gives you happy feelings and do it as often as possible – whether it's singing, dancing, laughing, sex or chocolate. Create a 'Prescription for change' for yourself, listing the things you need twice a day and twice a week. Then stick it on your fridge!

Weight training

I try to keep up an exercise programme – mainly weights, because my son is large and I worry that one day I won't be able to manage him. Being fit has given me huge confidence in how I manage my son, which in turn has improved his behaviour.

You are the no 1 priority

As a family carer, you need to be the no 1 priority, so make sure you eat and sleep properly, and go for regular health checks.

Choose your battles

I have learned the hard way to choose my battles carefully. I have to decide which battles really are important for me to win and which I can leave. The important ones involve safety and health. Some others you have to let slip for your own sanity.

Carers assessment

Make sure you get a carers assessment. Carers are the workforce!

Caring with confidence

I recently attended a 7-week Caring With Confidence Course. It was free of charge, and run by our local carers group. Absolutely fantastic! Covered all topics, from those who were new to caring to those who were struggling.

The Mutual Caring Project

The Mutual Caring Project offers support and information for older families who are caring for people with learning disabilities. There are various booklets and publications available to support long-term family carers, as well as professionals who are working with older families.

The Family Fund

The Family Fund offers grants to low income families raising disabled or seriously ill children and young people. It aims to give all families raising disabled and seriously ill children and young people the same opportunities as others by providing grants for essential items such as washing machines and sensory toys.

Register with your GP

Make sure you identify yourself as a carer to your GP, as PCTs and local councils often run support schemes that are accessed through GPs, but otherwise not obvious or easy to find.

Cuts in funding

The Challenging Behaviour Foundation has brought out an information sheet called 'Ten Top Tips' written by Professor Luke Clements, an expert in Community Law, which offers practical information and advice to families concerned about cuts in funding for support and services.   

Help outside term time

If you need help or a carer ask the school/college/day centre staff if they would like to work for you over the holidays.

Online secure personal network

I've just found out about Tyze secure personal online network designed for carers. You can do practical things to make life easier and keep organized. Stay in touch with friends and family, organise medical appointments, keep track of medications, schedule outings, share stories and photos, store private documents etc. ...

Involving friends and family

People often don’t know how to help unless you tell them. Write up a list of suggestions you can use to ask friends and family for help. They could include things like taking siblings to school, helping you with the gardening, or giving you an evening's babysitting.

Balance employment

If you work outside the home in addition to caring, investigate home working and/or flexible working. Have some good, frank discussions - always work from the point of view of "what is best for the business". Recruiting and retaining staff is expensive and you are a valuable asset.

Share your tips and feedback

We'd love to hear your tips, practical suggestions and feedback.
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Using these tips

These tips have been contributed by members of our online community. We hope they will give you some ideas to try, but if you need further help why not post a question to the community or talk to one of our community advisors. If you have any concerns about your health or the wellbeing of someone you are caring for, please consult a doctor or qualified professional.

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