Many of us have caring roles within our family and friendship groups, caring for a child, partner, parent or sibling. You may be getting in a bit of shopping for a relative or friend a couple of times a week, helping a parent with dementia, looking after your young or adult child with a disability or providing mental health support to your partner. Depending on the hours you care for someone a week all of these may qualify you as a carer which means you could get some financial and emotional support.
NHS England define a carer as:
“anyone, including children and adults who looks after a family member, partner or friend who needs help because of their illness, frailty, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction and cannot cope without their support”
Many carers feel uncomfortable claiming money for caring or accessing carers support, feeling that it’s their “duty” to look after their loved one and they are happy to do it for free, but over time the amount you are doing may mean that you need a bit of support yourself, especially if you are also looking after your own young children. Recognising how much you are doing and looking after yourself means you can carry on caring for longer.
If you are caring for another adult a Carers Assessment is an opportunity to record the impact caring has on your life and what support or services you need. The assessment will look at your physical, mental and emotional needs, and whether you are able or willing to carry on caring. Apply for a carers assessment with Lewisham Council.
Please do apply for support if you feel you may be entitled, you won’t be taking money or support from someone else and it can help you out with additional costs such as petrol and parking if you are taking someone to appointments, activities or adaptive equipment for your child with a disability, or a break from caring if you are living with someone with dementia. All of these things can help take the strain off your finances, especially if you are not able to work or have had to cut your hours due to your caring.
If the person you are caring for receives:
- Attendance Allowance
- Disability Living Allowance (the middle or higher rate of the care component)
- Personal Independence Payment (either rate of the daily living component)
- Armed Forces Independence Payment.
You may be entitled to £67.60 Carers Allowance per week if you:
- spend at least 35 hours a week caring for someone
- are aged 16 or over
- aren’t in full-time education or studying for 21 hours a week or more
- earn £128 (2021-22) a week or less (after tax, National Insurance and expenses). That’s £6,656 annually.
There are also lots of other benefits you may be entitled to as a carer.
Carers Lewisham Are a Great place to start if you are a carer or think you might be. They can help you with:
Advice and Information:
- Financial benefits
- Combining paid work with caring
- Getting practical help in the home
- Managing the condition of your cared for person
- First Aid
- Getting support from health and social care
- Your rights as a carer
- Specialist support for Dementia Carers, Mental Health Carers, Parent Carers, Older Carers, Male Carers, Young Adult Carers (18-25), Young Carers (under 18), carers for someone nearing the end of their life, unemployed carers.
Looking after your physical and emotional health:
Talking to someone to talk to who understands can make a huge difference to how you feel about your caring.
- Opportunities to meet others in similar situations
- Specialist support
- Counselling and therapy
- Mentoring for Young Carers (aged 18 and under)
- Coping Strategies training
- Relaxation days, pampering, massage
- Caring for yourself.
A break from caring:
Just like any other job a break from caring – even just for an hour can really help with your wellbeing. Caring is a tough job, often over many year and you deserve time for yourself.
Access money for you to have a holiday or time out from caring.
- Outings and activities for adults and children with caring responsibilities
- Enjoyable and creative activities at the Carers Centre and at neighbourhood hubs throughout the Borough of Lewisham help you relax for a while and learn a new skill
- Drop-ins twice a week and regular clubs for Young Carers aged from 5-16.
- Access money for you to have a holiday or time out from caring.
You may also know a child that’s looking after a parent or sibling with a physical or mental illness or struggling with addiction. Perhaps doing the shopping, cooking meals, helping with medication or taking responsibility for younger siblings. These children may qualify for young carers support. Unfortunately, many young carers go unnoticed, and often school doesn’t even know that the child has caring responsibilities. Help for young carers has lots of information to help young carers get access to the support they need and Carers Lewisham can also provide help and support.
Contact Carers Lewisham
email Carers Lewisham: firstname.lastname@example.org
call them on: 020 8699 8686
Follow them on Twitter: @icarelewisham or like them on Facebook
Other help and support:
“Looking after someone can be tough, but you’re not on your own. Carers UK is here to listen, to give you expert information and advice that’s tailored to your situation, to champion your rights and support you in finding new ways to manage at home, at work, or wherever you are”. Contact Carers UK
Support people diagnosed with dementia, together with their carers, providing information, advice and help to find the most suitable services and support for their individual needs. Caring for someone with dementia can be hugely challenging, physically and emotionally. Lewisham Dementia Hub support the friends and family caring for someone with dementia in a number of ways. Support for carers, Advice & Support, Activities & Groups and Respite at home.
Mencap can help anyone living with a learning disability, their families and carers. You may not realise that your child or sibling is entitled to certain benefits and support to help them live a full life. They can help with employment & training support, housing and benefit advice.
If caring is affecting your mental health please do talk to your GP and seek some support:
Whatever you’re going through, a Samaritan will face it with you. We’re here 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.