Some practical help
Everyone needs support. Wherever you live there will be a number of services available to provide help and information. If you are looking after someone with dementia, the charity Guideposts Trust operates a web based information service www.dementiaweb.org.uk.
You are also entitled to a number of things:
Carers Assessment – Carers have a legal right to an assessment. There are eligibility criteria based around the amount of time you care for someone and their needs. For an assessment of need your local social services department will be able to help and will send someone to see and the person you care for. Your GP should also know who to contact.
Benefits – A carers allowance provides financial assistance to someone who is providing care for another person. As with assessment of need carers allowance has eligibility criteria which you will need to meet. Click here to see our Carers Allowance page in our Benefits Advice section.
Emotional support – There will be carers groups in your area. Some may have support workers who can come and see you, others will run groups or have a telephone helpline. Talking about your feelings with a trained professional or with other carers can help enormously. While every situation is different people who care for another share common experiences and feelings.
Time off – often carers are those who already have full or part time jobs. Increasingly employers are both sympathetic and required by law to understand your caring role and help as best they can. This may require a change in hours or pattern of working. Getting legal advice as to what your employer can and can’t do as far as employment law is concerned is a good idea if you are in this position.
Respite – Social services have a responsibility to arrange services that give you a break from caring. This may be done at the time of an assessment or the person you are caring for may have a care package that provides times of respite for you as their carer.