Support for carers
It’s so important as a carer to take time for yourself. In this section, we talk about how you can look after yourself, whether that’s your health, work and life balance, or your finances.
On this page:
- Carer’s assessment
- Financial help
- Balancing work and caring
- Your health and wellbeing
- When caring ends
- Where to get more help
A carer’s assessment can be carried out by your local council or health service. Each UK nation has its own system of assessment. The aim of the assessment will be to help you get the support that you need. You may be asked questions about:
- How your caring role affects your life and wellbeing
- Your own health (physical and mental)
- Your feelings about caring
- Your work and relationships
- Your housing
- Planning for emergencies
From this, they’ll work out what extra support you may be entitled to. You can find more details about the carer’s assessment at Carers UK.
If you look after someone for 35 hours a week or more, you may be eligible for Carer’s Allowance. You do not have to live with or be related to the person you care for. Your eligibility is based on your circumstances, such as:
- your age
- whether you work and what you earn
- whether you get other benefits.
You could get Carer’s Credit if you care for someone for at least 20 hours a week. You automatically get Carer’s Credit if you get Carer’s Allowance, or child benefits for a child under the age of 12.
Carer’s Credit is a national insurance credit. So, if you have to stop work due to your caring responsibilities, contributions will still be paid. This means you can take on caring responsibilities without affecting your ability to qualify for the state pension.
If you are working full time or part-time whilst caring, it may be hard to juggle everything you need to do. It may be a good idea to tell colleagues about your situation, even having someone to talk to can be helpful.
It will help to speak to your employer about your caring responsibilities. They will understand the circumstances, and some companies even have a carers policy in place.
If your employer does have a carer’s policy in place, you could be entitled to things such as:
- carers’ leave (this might be paid or unpaid)
- time off for taking the person you care for to appointments (paid or unpaid)
- a carers’ support group or contact.
Living with a lung condition can affect mental as well as physical health. This goes for carers too. It’s common to feel anxious, stressed or have symptoms of depression. You may even sometimes feel resentment or guilt as a carer. Mind has great tips on how to look after yourself as a carer.
Caring can be tiring both physically and mentally. There are ways to look after yourself, such as talking to your GP, taking breaks, and getting enough sleep. Carers UK has more information on looking after your health as a carer.
Remember that family, friends and other carers can help you. Getting out to meet others will help you as well as the person you care for. You can also find lots of tips from other carers about how to look after yourself and your emotions.
Keep as social as you can, go to groups, coffee mornings, dancing, anything to meet other people. I reckon a lot of the benefits of our exercise group come from socialising. Dave
Making difficult decisions
You may want to think about a lasting power of attorney covering health and welfare. If the person you care for nominates you, you will be able to tell their health care professionals about their wishes and be able to make decisions on their behalf if they can’t.
Planning for the final stages of caring is particularly difficult. Have a look at our information on thinking and planning ahead. It covers what you can expect if the person you care for is reaching the end of their life, and what you might need to do. This includes planning end of life care and putting their affairs in order.
You might also want to talk to health care professionals about the options available locally, such as helping you care at home and care in a hospice or hospital.
Your caring role is likely to change over time, and it is hard to adjust when it comes to an end. Read more about caring for a loved one at the end of life.
When the person you care for dies, your feelings and reactions will be unique to you, but a range of support is available:
- Dying matters is an organisation that aims to help people talk more openly about bereavement.
- Carers UK has a list of practical things you may need to do.
Our helpline - our friendly helpline team can help you with all aspects of caring for someone with a lung condition, including welfare benefits. Call us Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm on 0300 222 5800.
Our web community - chat with people in a similar situation, ask questions or just have a look at what people are talking about.
Carers Trust - works to improve support and services for carers. Call them on:
- Carers Trust Wales 0292 009 0087
- Carers Trust Scotland 0300 772 7701
- Carers Northern Ireland 028 9043 9843
NHS - guide to care and support. Call the Carers Direct helpline on 0300 123 1053.
Supporting someone with breathlessness – a website with help and advice made for family and friends of people with breathlessness.
Citizens Advice Bureau – gives help and advice with applying for benefits, including completing forms.