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Are you a carer?

Are you a carer?
A carer is anyone who, unpaid, looks after a friend or family member who can't cope alone due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction.

Anyone can become a carer. Carers come from all walks of life, all cultures and can be any age. Many people don't recognise themselves as carers. You don’t have to be providing a certain number of hours care to be considered a carer.

How many carers there are in Scotland

There are estimated to be around 700,000-800,000 unpaid carers in Scotland. Many of these carers have never been in touch with services and are not accessing support.

What carers do

There are many ways you might care for someone else, which include:

  • practical tasks like cooking, housework and shopping
  • physical support like lifting, helping someone on stairs or with physiotherapy
  • personal care like washing, dressing and helping with toileting needs
  • managing the household budget and collecting benefits and prescriptions
  • giving medication
  • emotional support

The time a caring role takes up can vary hugely from carer to carer, and may involve:

  • visiting a relative who lives far away once a month
  • arranging hospital appointments for someone or accompanying them
  • dropping in daily to a nearby disabled friend to give them a meal and company
  • moving in with a relative to help them get better after an operation
  • being there to provide 24-hour constant care for a partner

Why carers need support

Whether carers have cared for the person for a long time, are temporarily helping them perhaps while they get better after an operation or have just recently become a carer, they may need some support.

You can get local help from carers' centres, which offer information, advice, training and emotional support. You can also have a break from your caring role, meet other carers, and enjoy some fun and relaxing activities like aromatherapy massages.

Further information

Carers Trust Scotland works to improve support, services and recognition for carers.

The information was last updated on: 12th March 2020

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