Coronavirus advice for carers
Many people started caring for someone during the coronavirus pandemic, while others had to provide more or different care than they used to. While you're there for the person you care for, we're here for you.
- Am I a carer?
- Can I provide care if I have coronavirus symptoms or am self-isolating?
- Can I still provide care if the person I care for has coronavirus symptoms or is self-isolating?
- The person I care for is nervous about care services at home. What can I do?
- What support is available to me as a carer?
Am I a carer?
Being a carer means different things to different people, and you might not think of yourself as a carer. Maybe you pop to the shops for someone you know, or else help someone with household tasks. If you provide support – whether you're paid or not – then you're a carer.
Being a carer during the coronavirus pandemic has been particularly challenging:
- If you were already caring for someone when the pandemic started, you might have found it difficult to adjust to restrictions and new routines.
- If you started caring during – or because of – the pandemic, you might have been cut off from your own support networks.
- Balancing your own needs with caring responsibilities is tricky at the best of times – you might be worried about catching coronavirus while you're out and about, especially when infection rates are high.
Can I provide care if I have coronavirus symptoms or am self-isolating?
If you feel unwell, you have symptoms of coronavirus, or you've been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, then you shouldn't carry on providing care.
If you're not going to be able to provide care for a while, you'll need to arrange for someone to step in and help – such as a family member, a friend, a trusted neighbour or a local community support group.
However, if there isn't anyone available to help, you can:
Can I still provide care if the person I care for has coronavirus symptoms or is self-isolating?
If the person you care for has coronavirus symptoms, you can carry on caring for them if you want to – as long as you're not considered 'clinically vulnerable', you don't have an underlying health condition, and you weren't told to shield earlier in the pandemic.
If you're at higher risk of becoming seriously ill with coronavirus, you should arrange for someone else to step in, if possible.
If you're happy to continue providing care – or you need to carry on because there isn't another option – you should try and minimise risk of infection by keeping your distance, wearing a face covering and regularly washing your hands. You should also keep rooms ventilated by opening windows and doors where possible.
Would you like more support?
Whether it's what help might be available from the council, financial support, or emotional support we have more information specifically for you as a carer.
The person I care for is nervous about care services at home. What can I do?
It's understandable that the person you care for might be nervous about letting other people into their home, especially when infection rates are high – but it's not always possible to avoid it.
There are steps you can take to make things safer:
- Make sure anyone coming into the home is aware that the person you care for is vulnerable, so that they can be as accomodating and understanding as possible.
- Ask them to take a lateral flow test before their visit.
- Ask them to wash their hands and put on a face covering when they arrive. Professional care staff should always wear appropriate PPE.
- If someone coming into the home doesn't need direct contact with the person you care for, ask them to keep a safe distance.
- Where possible, open doors and windows to keep the rooms they use ventilated.
While the above measures will help, the best thing you can do to stay safe is to get your coronavirus vaccination – and ensure that the person you care for can access theirs.
What support is available to me as a carer?
Caring can be tough – so it's important you know what support is available to you, too.
For many, the challenges of caring have increased over the course of the coronavirus pandemic.
It might feel like there aren't enough hours in the day. You might be finding it hard to balance your own needs with your caring responsibilities. Or you might just feel drained and low.
If you're finding it difficult to cope with your caring responsibilities, it's important to talk to someone – both for your benefit and the benefit of the person you care for. Is there a friend or family member you could talk to?
If you're feeling low or out of sorts, talk to your GP. It might be that you could benefit from further support – they can point you in the right direction.
If you're a carer, you might be entitled to some financial support – such as Carer's Allowance.
If you get State Pension you won’t be paid Carer's Allowance separately. But if you're eligible then you could be awarded extra Pension Credit or Housing Benefit instead – so don't be put off making a claim if you meet the criteria.
There's more information on our Carer's Allowance page.
There might come a time when you're unable to care for someone like you used to. That time may have already come – many people have found that the coronavirus pandemic has made things more difficult.
There are different ways to care for someone. Just because you're no longer caring for someone, it doesn't mean you stop caring about them.
Do you want more information?
We have more information written just for you.
- Is the person you're caring for in a care home or about to move into a care home? We've outlined the rules on visiting someone in a care home.