A carer is someone who provides unpaid help to a friend or family member needing support, perhaps due to illness, older age, disability, a mental health condition or an addiction.

Here you can find helpful advice and support if you’re caring for a family member of friend.

Carer’s assessments

If you care for someone, you can have an assessment to see what might help make your life easier. This is called a carer’s assessment.

It might recommend things like:

  • Someone to take over caring so you can take a break
  • Gym membership and exercise classes to relieve stress
  • Help with taxi fares if you don’t drive
  • Help with gardening and housework
  • Training how to lift safely
  • Putting you in touch with local support groups so you have people to talk to
  • Advice about benefits for carers

A carer’s assessment is free and anyone over 18 can ask for one.

How to get a carer’s assessment

Contact adult social services at your local council and ask for a carer’s assessment.

How to tell if you’re a carer

You’re a carer if you’re looking after someone regularly because they’re ill, elderly or disabled – including family members.

Carers help with:

  • Washing, dressing or taking medicines
  • Getting out and about and travelling to doctors’ appointments
  • Shopping, cleaning and laundry
  • Paying bills and organising finances

They can also give emotional support by:

  • Sitting with someone to keep them company
  • Watching over someone if they can’t be left alone.

What happens in the carer’s assessment

Someone from the council, or an organisation the council works with, will ask how you’re coping with caring.

This includes how it affects your physical and mental health, work, free time and relationships.

The assessment is usually face to face. Some councils can do it over the phone or online.

Assessments usually last at least an hour.

For more information on how to prepare for a carer’s assessment as well as helpful advice and telephone numbers visit the NHS website.

Information from the NHS website is licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0

Carers’ breaks and respite care

Respite care means taking a break from caring, while the person you care for is looked after by someone else.

It lets you take time out to look after yourself and helps stop you becoming exhausted and run down.

There are lots of respite care options. They range from getting a volunteer to sit with the person you look after for a few hours, to a short stay in a care home so you can go on holiday.

The person you look after could go to a day care centre. Or a paid carer could visit them at their home to look after them.

Your local council or local carers’ centre can give you information about local support.

Information from the NHS website is licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0

Benefits for carers

You might not think of yourself as a carer. But you probably are if you’re looking after someone regularly, including your spouse or a family member, because they’re ill or disabled.
As a carer, you may be entitled to one or more state benefits to help with costs.
You could get £67.60 a week if you care for someone at least 35 hours a week and they get certain benefits.
For more information on carer’s allowance, visit the GOV.UK website.

Information from the NHS website is licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0

Young Carers

A young carer is someone under the age of 18 who has to look after someone else, such as a parent or sibling. A young carer may have to look after someone because they are sick, have mental health issues or have a disability. In some cases,young carers have to care for parents or a family member with a drug or alcohol problem.

You can find out more about young carers and the support available on the Health for Teens website.

Helpful contacts

Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families

Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families is a children's charity dedicated to providing training & support for child mental health services. Information on the website for children and young people, parents and carers, and schools and colleges.

Telephone: 020 7794 2313 or email

CLASP – Carers Centre

The Carers Centre are a Leicestershire based charity and are dedicated to supporting family carers across the diverse population of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland who look after people with different needs.

The Carers Centre has access to a wide range of information and can help individuals with information about social care and health services, carers rights and a range of other information.

Telephone: 0116 251 0999 or email

All services are free of charge and open to all carers.

VASL – Support for Carers

Support for Carers Leicestershire supports carers throughout the county. The service is run by Voluntary Action South Leicestershire (VASL), a community-based organisation with a long and successful history of supporting carers. We’re able to help anyone who’s a carer in Leicestershire, whether they care full-time or just a few hours a week.

Their mission is to inform and support carers in all communities throughout Leicestershire; to improve carers’ quality of life, promote their health and well-being and to encourage them to make real choices about their lives.

Telephone: 01858 468 543 or email

Citizen’s Advice – help and support for carers

  • Advice on carer’s allowance
  • Support with the carer’s assessment

Carers Direct – for carers

Carers UK – for carers

  • Call 0800 808 7777

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