Looking after yourself as a carer
Over time, caring can really take its toll. It’s vital that you take time to look after yourself as well as the person you care for – not just so you can carry on caring, but so you have the energy to still do the things you enjoy.
Speak to your GP
If you’re finding caring tiring or difficult, it might help to tell your GP you’re a carer and discuss the impact this is having on your health. They'll be able to offer you advice and support. You may also be entitled to additional health services – such as a free annual flu jab – if the person you care for has a serious or ongoing health problem.
Although it can be difficult, try to make sure that you eat healthily, stay active and get enough sleep.
Ask for help
Don’t feel like you need to do everything yourself. If you have relatives who live nearby, try to be honest with them if you need help or want to share the responsibility. As a carer, you're entitled to a carer's assessment from your local council, too – this can help you identify support for you in your caring role.
Arrange respite care
Respite care provides support for your loved one whilst giving you a much-needed break from caring.
Find time for yourself
Doing something enjoyable or relaxing can be very helpful when you have caring responsibility.
If you're able to, make time for something like an exercise group or an evening class. Taking part in an activity you enjoy will give you the opportunity to do something for yourself – it’s important that you have your own interests and make time to pursue them where you can.
Your local library can provide information about social activities, events, education and courses.
But even if you don’t have the time for an activity or class, simply taking ten minutes whenever you can to have a cup of tea or get some fresh air can really help.
We're here to help
We offer support through our free advice line on 0800 678 1602. Lines are open 8am-7pm, 365 days a year. We also have specialist advisers at over 140 local Age UKs.
Other organisations that can help
If you need some more support with being a carer, there is help available.
Please help us be there for older people in need
By donating today, you could help us answer more calls to our advice line, campaign harder for older people’s rights and fair treatment and provide regular friendship calls to people who are desperately lonely.