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First steps for getting help and support with our caring roles

Thinking about getting support with caring for a family member or friend, is not as straightforward as it sounds. But starting to think and talk about the topic now could mean we are set up and ready for when the right time comes.

Illustration of a woman sitting on a couch with her laptop and feet up.

Chatting in our online cuppa about the topic we looked broadly at support for the people we care for and the things that also support us to be able to care.

Together, we came up with a checklist of possible types of support to consider, how to get started, and how to get help to pay for it.

Possible types of support to consider

What do other carers say about getting help and support to care?

"A good PA (Personal Assistant) is worth their weight in gold. Pay them a decent wage, with a proper contract."
"I have had a lot of paid help over the years, it’s the backbone of keeping my health well enough to be carer to my children."
"Be proactive about having information about your cared for to hand to be able to brief new carers."
"So important to get the right person, it can be a slow process."

First steps we can take to get help

Talk (and listen) to everyone involved. It might be useful to use the table above to think about who we can talk to, or what we are missing.

It can be hard to make some of these changes for many reasons. For some of us, the loss of independence or privacy of having a paid carer in our own may be an uncomfortable thought.

But it can be a helpful start for us to start thinking about support in the long run.

Carers in the Mobilise Community recommended some important starting points to consider:

The person we care for may be entitled to a care needs assessment from our local council. The assessment is free and can give us recommendations about the type of care that might be needed. They can also signpost you to local care providers in our area.

A financial assessment that follows this will also determine if the person we care for is eligible for financial support to help pay for this.

Children with additional needs are also entitled to an assessment.

"Although it may not be possible to interview people face to face yet, a video call can be good."

How to get help to pay for support

Depending on the type of help we need, there are some key things to think about here.

  • For the person we look after, consider benefits such as:

- Disability Living Allowance (if they're under 16)

- Personal Independence Payment (if they're over 16)

- Attendance Allowance (if they're over state pension age)

  • Social Services - as mentioned above, a financial assessment will determine what help is available. If we're eligible, care can be arranged directly or through a personal budget (funded by the council), via direct payments. This can be paid to care providers, once agreements have been placed.

  • Take a look at something known as Carer's Allowance, the main benefit for unpaid carers. We have a simple Carer's Allowance checker to help you find out if you're eligible.

  • Consider arranging a Carer's Assessment with the council or local carers service. This is a series of conversations to help the council know what help they can put in place for us.

  • Our local carers center may offer funding for short breaks. Such as sitting and respite services nearby.

  • We have created a simple benefits and savings toolkit to make sure you're not missing out on the basics.

  • National condition-specific charities may also offer support locally

  • Can we ask if family members can chip in or help cover the cost of something?

"Remember we know those we care for best and want what is best for them, if things aren’t working you have every right to call a meeting or put in writing what has gone wrong - copy in all concerned. You can find alternatives for yourself too."

More helpful resources

For support for children and young people with additional needs - Contact

For support with cancer - MacMillan Nurses

For support with Dementia - Admiral Nurses

End of life care and support for long term conditions - Database of Hospices across the UK

For support with terminal illness - Marie Curie Nurses and helpers

For local voluntary support - GoodGym, Covid-19 Mutual Aid

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