A carer is anyone of any age who provides unpaid care by looking after an ill, frail or disabled family member, friend or partner.
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.
What does the Care Act 2014 mean for carers?
The Care Act also introduces the right to an assessment to carers with any level of need for support. Carers will be eligible for a support plan if they meet the national eligibility criteria.
If the carer does have needs caused by providing necessary care, the Council must consider whether the carers’ physical or mental health is, or is at risk of deteriorating or; because of their caring role, the carer is unable to achieve any one or more of the following specific outcomes:
- Carrying out any caring responsibilities for a child
- Providing care to other persons
- Maintaining a habitable home environment in the carer’s home
- Managing and maintaining nutrition
- Developing and maintaining family or other personal relationships
- Engaging in work, training, education or volunteering
- Making use of necessary facilities or services in the local community including recreational facilities or services
- Engaging in recreational activities
‘Being unable to achieve’ specified outcomes includes circumstances where the carer:
- is unable to achieve the outcome without assistance
- is able to achieve the outcome without assistance but doing so causes or is likely to cause the carer significant pain, distress or anxiety
- is able to achieve the outcome without assistance, but doing so endangers or is likely to endanger the health or safety of the carer or any adults or children for whom the carer provides care
In addition, we must always consider any factors which have a significant impact on the carer’s wellbeing.