Who is a carer?
A carer is anyone who provides help and support, for a family member, friend or neighbour, who because of an illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction cannot cope without their support.
The person you care for could be:
- your husband, wife or partner
- a family member such as parent, brother, sister, son or daughter
- a friend or neighbour.
This is not the same as someone who provides care professionally, or through a voluntary organisation.
The support you provide could be:
- washing and dressing
- shopping and food preparation
- helping with laundry or housework
- taking them to regular appointments
- keeping someone company
- helping someone take medication
Many people are carers without even knowing it. Once you realise that you are a carer you could get the support and information you are entitled to. This could include practical or emotional support, or help to claim suitable benefits.
Where to get support
Information, advice and support for carers in Kirklees is provided by an organisation called Carers Count on behalf of the council. They are the first place to go for support.
They can help with:-
- claiming benefits
- finding local services, support groups and activities
- free training
- getting a carers assessment
- getting your voice heard, if you feel health or care professionals aren't listening to you.
Contact Carers Count
You can contact Carers count to talk to someone about your caring role and they will listen and provide you with support you need.
Other support options available for carers
Support from your GP surgery
Let your GP know that you are a carer and ask if this could be registered on your medical record. All GP practices will have a carer registration form.
As a carer you are entitled to a free flu vaccination and your surgery may also offer the following:
- some flexibility with appointment times, for both yourself and/or the person you care for to accommodate your caring situation
- agreement to share information about the condition of the person you care for (with their consent)
Help with money
You may be able to get help to increase your income if your caring duties are affecting your finances.
Depending on your income, assets and living arrangements, you might be able to:
- apply for Carers Allowance
If you're not sure about your benefits or your rights at work, Carers Count will help you. Just pick up the phone and ask their friendly service.
Help from your employer
Let your employer know that you are a carer, as an employee, your employer must offer you certain legal rights. These include:
- the right to ask for flexible working, such as reducing your hours or working from home - anyone has the right to ask for flexible working
- time off in emergencies - meaning if the person you care for falls ill, has an accident or is without care unexpectedly, you have the right to take time off work to deal with it
Your employer isn't obliged to offer you more than your legal rights, but some workplaces have policies that might give you more support or time off, for example through applying for a career break. Check with your employer or HR department to find out more.