A carer is someone of any age who provides unpaid support to family or friends who could not manage without this help. This could be caring for a relative, partner or friend who is ill, frail, disabled or has mental health or substance misuse problems.
Carers are vital to the wellbeing and independence of thousands of people. The number of carers is increasing. In the 2011 census, 5.8 million people in England and Wales identified themselves as carers, compared with 5.2 million people in 2001.*
The demands of being a carer can affect a person’s quality of life, including their health. People providing high levels of care are twice as likely to be permanently sick or disabled, and 625,000 people have health problems because of their caring responsibilities.*
It’s important that people who are looking after another person identify themselves as carers as early as possible, so they can get the information, advice and support they need when they need it. This includes getting advice about looking after their own health.
In this section you can find information about:
- Taking care of yourself
- Where to go for help and support
- Young carers
- Services we commission
- Joint Commissioning Strategy for Carers 2013 – 2016
*Figures from Department of Health https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/helping-carers-to-stay-healthy