Whether you've just started looking after a loved one or have been supporting someone for a while, this checklist will help you get the support and information you need.
Want to print this out?
Print this off as a 1-page, A4 checklist and tick off each item as you complete it.
1. Get a carer's assessment with your local council
A carer's assessment will help you find out what you need and what could help you with your caring role. Some of the outcomes could be:
- respite care
- information about local support groups for carers
- help with caring
- equipment that would make your life easier as a carer.
2. Register as a carer with your GP
Let your doctor know that you're caring for someone, as you may be entitled to additional health services such as a free flu jab. Caring is hard, so it's important they know and can look out for your health, as well as offer advice and support.
3. Make time for yourself and your interests as often as you can
When you're caring for someone else, your own interests and hobbies can often take a back seat. Although it can be hard to carve out time, it's so important that you still do the things that make you feel like you.
Are there any friends or family who could support you for an hour, or any local day centres that could give you a bit of a break every week? That could be through a charity that supports people with specific conditions, or an Age UK day centre.
4. Take a break from caring
You wouldn't work an office job for a full year without any holiday, and caring should be no different.
Even if you can't afford it on your own, there may be support available to help you with respite care.
5. Apply for Carer's Allowance
Carer's Allowance is a payment of £66.15 a week to spend as you wish. If you care for someone at least 35 hours a week and earn less than £123 a week, you may be eligible.
6. Use our benefits calculator
Find out if you're claiming everything you're entitled to by using our online benefits calculator.
7. Tell your employer about your caring responsibilities
Your caring responsibilities may affect your productivity at work. That's totally natural - having 2 jobs is bound to be stressful and tiring. But if your employer knows, they may be able to help you deal with the stress, and they'll understand if you need to take days off at the last minute too.
8. Think about asking for flexible working
If at some point balancing work and caring becomes too much, you could ask your employer about opportunities for flexible working. That could mean working from home a few days a week, or working something like 5 days in 4, then having an extra day off.
You have certain rights as a carer, like the right to time off in an emergency, and the right to request flexible working.
For the person you care for
9. Make sure they have a care needs assessment
If you have the permission of the person you care for, get in touch with your local council to ask for a care needs assessment.
A social care professional will assess how they manage everyday tasks and what they want to achieve. The professional will look at the person's needs and consider what care and support could be useful.
10. Help them complete a benefits check
The person you care for may be entitled to different benefits to you. If they need help finding out what to apply for, you could point them to our benefits calculator.
If they're entitled to benefits they're not currently claiming, you may be able to help with the application forms. But if you're struggling, your local Age UK may be able to help the person you care for to apply.
11. Consider if any home adaptations would make their life easier
There are changes you can make in your home to make life with a long-term condition or disability a lot easier. From simple, practical tips, to useful technology and larger adaptations, find out what you could do to allow the person you care for to stay happy, healthy and comfortable at home.
12. Thinking about the future
Although difficult, it's useful for the person you care for to think about the future and getting their affairs in order. It may be useful to think about their future care needs, their preferences, powers of attorney and whether their will is up to date.
Download this checklist
Print out this checklist to stick on your fridge or give to someone you know who is caring for someone. They may learn something useful that makes their life easier.