Are you a carer?

The term carer can be misunderstood, misleading or confused with someone who provides care professionally, such as a personal care assistant.

So what is a carer?

Someone who, without pay, spends time supporting or helping someone who is ill, needs extra support or has a life limiting condition.

Most people just think of themselves as doing what any daughter, mother, brother, father, sister, friend or neighbour would and should do.

Caring is not always a choice and difficulties can go unrecognised with many carers struggling silently, not knowing what help is available to them.

A carer is anyone who looks after or helps support, or intends to look after or support, a family member, a friend or a neighbour without a formal wage.  Carers can be any age, ethnicity, gender or from any walk of life.  They can also be carers for differing amounts of time and for more than one person at a time.  You can be a carer even if the person you care for has not had any formal assessment or been awarded any benefits.

Carer facts

  • There are 7 million known carers in the UK
  • There are an estimated 36,000 known carers in Southampton – more than the capacity of St Mary’s Stadium, the home of Southampton Football Club
  • 15% of English households contain a carer
  • Every year 2.1 million people become carers
  • In the UK 42% of carers are men and 58% are women
  • The economic value of the contribution made by carers in the UK is £119bn per year.

Carer Guide

‘Looking after someone’ is the Carers UK guide for anyone caring for family or friends.  It is an illustrated introduction to ten of the main challenges involved, from making difficult decisions to looking after your health and wellbeing.

The guide includes:

  • This edition includes A Carer’s Guide: an illustrated introduction to the challenges of caring, from making difficult decisions to looking after your health and wellbeing.
  • Benefits: an overview of which benefits you or the person you can for may be entitled to and information about how to get a benefits check.
  • Other financial help: including help with council tax, fuel costs, pensions and health costs.
  • Practical help: including community care assessment, carer’s assessment and direct payments.
  • Technology: information about health and care technology that could make life easier for you and the person you care for.
  • Your workplace: your rights at work, from flexible working and parental leave to protection from discrimination.
  • Other help: how to find other help nationally and in your local community.

Get the guide

Digital copy Download Carers UK Looking after someone for free. DOWNLOAD
View online:

Click the thumbnail below to view Looking after someone online.

Printed copy:

Carers can get a free printed copy of the Carers UK Looking after someone guide by contacting the Carers UK Adviceline:

Open Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm.
Note: listening service available Mondays and Tuesdays, from 9am to 7pm.

Adviceline or phone icon0808 808 7777

Printed copies can also be ordered in the Carers UK online shop and we have some spare copies in the Carers in Southampton office.