June 2018: Carers and Be Clear on Cancer

June 2018: Carers

What is a carer?

Many people do not see themselves as carers straight away: they are mums and dads, husbands, wives, partners, brothers, sisters, friends and neighbours, sons and daughters. They are simply doing what anyone would, caring unpaid for a loved one or friend, helping them through when they are unable to do things for themselves.

However the fact is that being a carer can put great pressure on someone, put a strain on their relationship with the person they look after, and prevent them from having a life of their own away from their caring role. Recognising yourself as a carer can be the gateway to getting a range of help and support which take some of the pressure off you and allow you some time for yourself. It also means that in the event of a crisis, for example if you yourself are taken unwell, you will be able to easily access respite and other emergency support for the person you look after.

Young carers (under 18)

Some people start caring at a very young age, often for a parent or sibling, and do not realise they are carers. We believe that young carers have the same rights and opportunities as all children and young people and should be able to learn, achieve, develop friendships and enjoy positive, healthy childhoods just like other children.

Carers’ support and looking after yourself

Stress or disturbance by the person you are caring for in the night can lead to a lack of sleep. Simple things such as not drinking caffeine too late in the day, turning off electronics at night and getting enough exercise can all help to improve sleep. If, however, lack of sleep continues then your GP can help with this.

Being a carer doesn’t come without its pressures. The many demands made on our time and energy and the expectations we have of ourselves can cause stress, which can lead to depression. Talking to friends or family, or using local support groups can help with this.

Caring can be a full time job. It’s important that you find time for yourself and take a break from the responsibilities that being a carer brings.