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Helping older people understand what support is available to carers

Carers Week 2019

As we celebrate Carers Week across the country, now is an ideal time to pick up a copy of the charity's Advice for carers - practical and emotional help when you're looking after someone.

Produced jointly by Age UK and Age Cymru, the easy to read guide looks at both the practical and emotional sides of caring, with specific information on issues such as benefits, flexible working, sources of help and support as well how a caring role can affect a person's wellbeing and social life.

The guide says it is important to recognise your role as a carer in order to get the support to which you are entitled as it is often the case that people look after someone because they love them, in other words it's personal and not professional and it is common to become a carer without realising it. This can mean that people feel lots of emotions towards the person they are caring for, such as sadness, guilt, and even anger at times.

The guide warns that many people become so busy making sure someone else's needs are met, that they often overlook their own.

Your Rights As a Carer

You may have the right to:

  • receive financial support
  • request flexible working from your employer
  • access respite care
  • seek support from social services with aspects such as help around the home

The guide highlights that as a carer you are entitled to have you views taken into consideration by social services when they're deciding how best to meet the needs of the person you are caring for so it advises that the best place to start is to seek a carer's assessment from your local authority.

The guide provides some handy tips on preparing for an assessment. It says that as a carer you should consider: are you getting enough sleep; can you get out and about; are you eating well; is your physical and mental health deteriorating; can you cope with other family commitments; can you juggle work and or education with your caring commitments; and do you still enjoy a social life?

The guide outlines the financial support that may be available to carers such as Carers Allowance, Carer's Credit, and Council Tax Support Schemes. It also outlines the financial support that may be available to those being cared for such as Personal Independent Payments or Attendance Allowance.

The guide stresses that cares are not alone in their struggles and that there are lots of charities and government agencies out there willing to help which are handily listed at the back of the guide. Perhaps the first steps you can take towards getting the support you may need as a carer is to read our guide and get a better understanding of what type of help is out there and how you can get access to it.

To obtain a free copy of the guide call our Freephone advice line on 08000 223 444 or email advice@agecymru.org.uk

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