Carers Rights Day is coming up on Thursday 25 November. The day is held to ensure carers are aware of their rights, let carers know where to get help and support and raise awareness of the needs of carers.
At Caring Together we have a team of carer advisors who are able to help carers understand what is available and might be beneficial to them. Some of what carers are entitled to are legal rights, but there is also other help and support available. Here are a few of the things people looking after a family member or friend might find useful to know:
If you care for someone, you can have an assessment to see what might help make your life easier. This is called a carer’s assessment. It is important to know that what is being ‘assessed’ is what would be beneficial to you as a carer, it is not an assessment of how well you are caring..
It might recommend things like:
- someone to help with caring so you can take a break
- help with gardening and housework
- training on skills such as how to lift safely that can help with your caring role
- putting you in touch with local support groups so you have people to talk to
- advice about benefits for carers
A carer’s assessment is free and anyone over 18 can ask for one. It’s separate from the assessment the person you care for might have, but may sometimes be completed at the same time if that will be easiest for you and the person you care for.
Find out more at www.caringtogether.org/help-advice/carers-assessment
Parent carers assessment
All parent carers have a right to ask for an assessment of their needs at any time.
The aim of a carer’s assessment is to give you a chance to tell social services about the things that could make looking after your child easier for you. This may result in getting services or direct payments to meet your own assessed needs.
You can view more information here – https://contact.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Carers-assessments.pdf
Young Carers’ Assessment
If you or your parents request it, you are entitled to a young carer’s assessment. This assessment is different to the one adult carers have.
It will look at the kind of help you and your family might need. If you or your parents feel that your needs or circumstances have changed you can request another assessment.
Your young carer’s assessment will look at your education, training, leisure opportunities and views about your future.
You could be entitled to carer’s allowance if you care for someone at least 35 hours a week and they get certain benefits. You do not have to be related to, or live with, the person you care for. You do not get paid extra if you care for more than one person.
Support from your GP
You can make sure that your GP knows you are a carer and understands your role. This means that you should be able to get specific support such as being able to get a flu jab, and through this, carers have been prioritised for the coronavirus vaccination and boosters. They should take account of your caring role’s impact on your health. And they may have specific support in place for carers, such as carers groups, annual health checks and flexible appointments for you and the person you care for.
Support and services you can access
Speak to us or visit our website to find out more about what you can benefit from.
- Someone to talk to – Having someone to talk to can make a big difference. The support we available to you as carer, includes:
- Groups and activities where you can meet and talk to other carers and/or former carers. See caringtogether.org/support-for-carers/adult-carers/family-carers-hubs
- Counselling from qualified counsellors who are trained in different skills and approaches. See caringtogether.org/support-for-carers/someone-to-talk-to/counselling-for-carers
- Our listening ear service which gives the opportunity to talk to one of our trained volunteers on the phone about the things that matter to you. See caringtogether.org/support-for-carers/someone-to-talk-to/listening-ear
- One-to-one clinics where you can speak to one of our carer advisors at a specific time. Contact us for details.
- Our helpline where you can be given advice and information on what is available to you as a carer. This includes information on other groups you may want to be part of. See caringtogether.org/contact-us, email [email protected] or call us on 0345 241 0954
- Help for parent carers with transitions – The time when a young person is transitioning into adulthood can be particularly difficult for parent carers. We have a parent carer lead who is working with parent carers from Pinpoint and Family Voice Peterborough to improve the information and support available for parent carers at this key stage. See caringtogether.org/support-for-carers/parent-carers
- Emergency planning – What if something happens to you, which means you are unable to look after your loved one? Having an emergency plan will help give you peace of mind as well as giving the person you care for practical support in an emergency. An emergency counts as any unplanned event, such as:
- Sudden illness
- Unplanned admission to hospital
- Family emergency (e.g. close relative taken ill)
Other support available to you
Depending on your situation there can be other support you can benefit from.
- Your employer* may have policies available that can help you. These may be specific to carers or for situations where people have caring responsibilities, or they may be other policies you can benefit from such as on flexible working. And you can also talk to your employer about what support or flexibility they can make available.
- Schools* should have support for pupils in place. Making the school aware a pupil is a young carer will help them access what is available.
- If the person you care for is admitted to hospital* make them aware that you are their carer. You can consider the role you want to have while they are in hospital, and plan for when they return home. Hospitals often have support policies in place that recognise and value the role of carers. And you should be involved in planning the discharge of the person you care for. See more at caringtogether.org/support-for-carers/adult-carers/hospital-admission-and-discharge-planning
- There are laws and rights people have that relate to areas such as work and property that are relevant to carers. These include rights around not being discriminated against, and rights to flexible working.
*See below about the Carer Friendly Tick Award
Your right to have your voice heard
At Caring Together, we believe that carers really are the experts when it comes to issues affecting them and those they care for, and so we are committed they should be at the heart of all that we do.
We are committed to learning from the experiences and insight of former carers when their caring role comes to an end. In addition to the benefit they bring to our work, we believe it can also be beneficial for the former carer.
See how you can get involved at www.caringtogether.org/caring-together-forum
Helping carers be identified and supported
A key piece of our work to help carers is to raise awareness in the community with health, social care and education professionals, and employers. This means they are able to identify and support carers – which benefits them as well as the carers.
The Carer Friendly Tick Award is available for employers, and organisations in education, health care and the community. It’s an accreditation that was created by carers, and each application is assessed by carers.
We can provide free support to help organisations through the Carer Friendly Tick Award process with awareness-raising sessions, resources, and examples of what similar organisations have done. We have toolkits available for each of the four categories of education, community groups, employers and health organisations which can help you with your application.
Find out more at www.caringtogether.org/professionals/carer-friendly-tick-award