Do you look after someone who couldn’t cope without your support?
New figures suggest that there are now more than 135,000 people in Devon who are unpaid carers.
Worryingly though, only a minority are accessing vital information and support that is available to them.
Today is Carers Right Day – a national event, which is run annually, to ensure unpaid carers are aware of their rights, to let them know where to get help and support and to raise awareness of the needs of carers.
An unpaid carer is anyone who looks after a friend, family member or neighbour who due to old age, illness, disability, addiction or physical or mental illness, cannot cope without their support.
‘Looking after’ can mean helping with things like shopping, domestic tasks, emotional assistance and personal care.
Anyone could be an unpaid carer – a 15-year-old girl looking after a parent with alcohol dependency, a 40-year-old man caring for his partner who has cancer, or an 80-year-old woman looking after her husband who has dementia, providing that they are not a volunteer or a paid care worker.
If you’re not sure if you’re an unpaid carer, the Devon Carers recognition tool may help you to find out more.
Digital Resources for Carers
All unpaid carers in Devon have free access to the Carers UK Digital Resource, which includes guides, tools and training, with information available on topics such as technology, health and wellbeing, financial planning and work.
Unpaid carers in Devon can register via the Carers UK website and enter the unique access code when required: DGTL8827.
Unpaid carers in Devon can also use this code to access the Jointly App for free. The App is designed to make communication and coordination easier for those who share care. For example, carers can post messages, allocate tasks, save notes, and manage medication.
It’s important that unpaid carers know their rights in order to access support that may be essential to maintaining their own health and wellbeing.
Juggling work and care can be very challenging, but there are steps you can take to help you manage your work commitments alongside your caring role.
You may need to talk to your employer to let them know that you’re an unpaid carer, so that you can work with them to agree adjustments to your working conditions as necessary. Carers UK has lots of useful information about your rights at work.
Many carers find it easier to continue in their caring role if they can get some support.
We provide care and support for unpaid carers through Devon Carers. Because everyone is different, they may carry out a Carer’s Assessment to help them decide the most appropriate way to support someone.
Children under 18 years old with caring responsibilities have different assessments to adult carers. A young carer’s assessment can be carried out to help decide what support a young carer might need.
If you provide unpaid care, you can ask your GP practice to identify you as a carer on your patient record.
Carers are at a much higher risk of becoming ill themselves and your GP can help keep you fit and well by recognising the effects caring can have on your health, such as depression, stress, high blood pressure or back pain.
Unpaid carers are also entitled to a free flu vaccination each year and are a priority group for COVID-19 vaccinations, meaning many carers can get protection sooner. All carers over 16 are now able to access their COVID-19 booster.
Support for adult carers
Please contact Devon Carers for more information, and for advice and support, through their website or by calling 03456 434 435.
Support for young carers
For more information about support for young people aged four to 18 years old who help look after someone in their family, or a friend, who is ill, disabled or misuses drugs and alcohol, please contact Devon Young Carers via their website, or by emailing email@example.com or calling 03456 434 435.
Support for parent carers with disabled children
For more information about support for parent carers with disabled children (up to the age of 18 years old) please contact our Disabled Children’s Service Helpline on 01392 385276 or for more information about Parent Carer Needs Assessment, please visit our website.