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Support and advice

 Are you a carer?

Carers are people who provide unpaid practical or emotional support to a family member, a friend or another person who needs help or support to manage daily activities.

A carer may be looking after

  • an older person
  • someone who has a mental health condition
  • someone living with a disability
  • someone with a long-term medical condition
  • someone with a terminal illness.

Carers may be adults caring for other adults. They may be parents looking after children who have a medical condition or disability. There are also young carers (under 18) caring for, or involved in the care of, relatives or friends.

The closeness of the relationship means that care can include emotional support for the person they support. Some carers do not call themselves carers. They just see themselves as a husband, wife, parent, relative, friend or neighbour. Sometimes there can be more than one carer supporting someone as part of a family or community network. At times, the carer may not be recognised as a carer by the person they are caring for.

Caring for someone can be tiring and stressful. Carers can focus so much on the needs of the person they are caring for that they neglect their own health and wellbeing. If you are a carer, it is very important that you also look after yourself.

This page gives you information about the support that is available to you.

 Local support

Our Community directory contains details for many local and national organisations providing support to carers. These include general carers' organisations and those related to specific conditions or disabilities.

  • Carers in Southampton provides advice and support to unpaid carers living in Southampton.
    Phone 023 8058 2387

 National support

Carers UK provides a wealth of information and support including:

  • An advice line - 0808 808 7777. 
  • An online forum  which you can join to connect with other carers to share information support and advice.
  • An Upfront guide to caring- a simple tool for carers who are new to the maze of benefits and entitlements. Spend a couple of minutes answering questions and you will be guided to the information you need.
  • A Looking after someone guide, which can be downloaded, is for anyone caring for family or friends. The guide outlines your rights as a carer and gives an overview of the practical and financial support available.
  • Being heard - a self-advocacy guide to help you navigate a confusing system, get your message across and cope with complex thoughts and emotions when you are caring.
  • Health advice to help carers look after themselves, including eating well.

CareTeam - homecare coordinator is an app that allows friends, family and neighbours to securely share important information about caring for an adult at home.

National Careline – Phone 0800 0699 784 - for older people and their relatives who need advice.

Carers Trust is a national organisation of carers' support services with a network of independently managed centres across the UK. The centres provide a range of services, including information and advice on benefits, care and access to services, advocacy, support and practical help for carers.

 Registering as a carer with your GP

You can register your details with your doctor’s practice so that your notes are tagged to indicate that you are a carer or that the patient is a cared-for person. It will help your GP if they are aware of your caring responsibilities and the potential impact of your caring responsibilities on your own health. The doctor’s receptionist can then also take account of your needs as a carer when trying to arrange appointment times that fit in with your caring responsibilities.

 Planning for the future

If you are no longer able to care
It is natural to worry about what will happen to the person you care for if or when you are no longer able to care for them. No one likes to think about a time when they may no longer be able to carry out a caring role. But planning how the person you support should be cared for in the future can give you, and them, peace of mind so do not be afraid to start a conversation.

It may help to explore our Care options information.

If the person you care for is not currently receiving any paid-for care services, but might do in the future, you should also read our Paying for care information.

Advance health care planning
Advanced care plans can be completed with the person you are caring for so they can express their wishes for the future. Advanced care plans are voluntary and are not legally binding but can be a helpful tool to help consider the future. 

Useful links:

  • The Future Planning: My Wishes template from Southern Health can ensure that the things that matter to your loved one, their preferences and wishes relating to their medical care are recorded so that, if they are taken ill, health professionals can make better, more informed decisions about how to support them.
  • My Living Will consists of both an Advance Decision to refuse treatment and an Advance Statement of your preferences and wishes.
  • NHS – Planning ahead for end of life

Making future decisions
The person you care for may consider making a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) which gives another person legal authority to make decisions on their behalf.

A property and financial affairs LPA can either take effect immediately or when a person loses mental capacity to make decisions about their property and finance and this can be specified. The health and welfare LPA can only be used when they lose mental capacity to make those decisions.

Making a will
If you don't have a will, your money, belongings and property will be split up under the Rules of Intestacy.

Writing a will is the only way to say who benefits after your death. A will can also help you make provision for a dependant who is unable to care for themselves.

You can find out how to make a will on the Citizens Advice website.

Emergency planning
See our information about preparing for an emergency 

 Equipment

See our Equipment and adaptations section for information about equipment to help you and the person you care for.  This includes care technology equipment (such as pendant alarms, falls sensors and GPS trackers) to keep someone safe and independent and provide reassurance for carers.

 Cinema concessions card

The UK Cinema Association offers the CEA card to disabled people. This entitles any carer accompanying them to a free ticket and is accepted in 90% of cinemas in the UK. The card is available to people receiving disability or attendance allowance, registered blind or holding a disabled person’s railcard. A small processing fee is chargeable per card.

 Help from your local authority

Your local authority can carry out a carer's assessment. These are usually carried out by the Adult Social Care department or sometimes by an organisation on their behalf. Some offer the choice of an initial online self-assessment.

These assessments look not only at the support available from your council but also from a range of private and voluntary organisations. 

For more information:

Hampshire County Council carer's assessment
Southampton City Council carer's assessment
Portsmouth City Council carer's assessment 

 Further help for you and the person you care for

  • Information about work and career, including flexible working.
  • Our Health and Wellbeing section has lots of information to help you and the person you care for. This includes: general health advice to keep you fit and well, including help for specific issues (such as incontinence); NHS advice and services; mental health support;  and information about hospital stays.
  • See our information about specific Conditions, disabilities and end of life care.
  • Find help with Getting out and about with the person you care for. This includes information about Driving and parking, Leisure activities and Shopping (including accessibility guides and finding accessible toilets), Holidays, Learning and volunteering opportunities, Concessions and discounts).
  • If you are unsure what help you may be looking for, or don't have time to explore the website now, you can use our quick and easy Information Finder tool. This will find relevant links to information for you which you can email to yourself to access later.

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