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What is a Carer?

A carer is anyone who helps and supports somebody who, due to an illness, disability, or mental health problem, cannot cope without their support.

The person you care for could be a:

  • husband, wife, or partner
  • family member such as a parent, brother, sister, son, or daughter
  • friend or neighbour

This is not the same as someone who provides care professionally or through a voluntary organisation.

These are some examples of things that a carer may take care of:

  • General care - giving medication, changing dressings, assisting with mobility.
  • Domestic tasks - cooking, cleaning, washing, ironing, shopping
  • Emotional support - helping with distressing life-threatening, life limiting and mental health conditions.
  • Intimate care - dressing, washing, toilet requirements.
  • Other - helping with household tasks, bill paying, accompanying to doctor or hospital visits.

There is no such thing as a typical carer and many of them do not even recognise themselves as one.

Carers do not get paid for the support they provide and do not need to live with the person they care for, who must live independently and not in a residential or a nursing home.

If you are under 18, we also provide information for Young Carers.