All about the
Caring Role

If you answered yes to either, or both, of the questions above, it is extremely likely that you are classed as a Carer, whether you were aware of it or not.  While being a Carer doesn’t define you, it may mean that you have some important legal rights including the right to certain types of financial support, practical help, assistance technology and rights in the workplace.  

To find out more about the different types of caring roles, and what they entail, please keep reading below, you may be surprised.  However, Carers UK research in 2022 estimates the number of unpaid carers could be as high as 10.6 million (Carers UK, Carers Week 2022 research report). 

The chart below shows the approximate proportion of different caring roles in the UK.

A Carer is anyone, including children and adults, who looks after a family member, partner or friend who needs help because of their illness, frailty, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction and who cannot cope without their support. The care they give is unpaid.  

According to the most recent Census 2021, there are around 5.7 million Unpaid Carers across the UK.

Each caring role is unique, and may encompass a range of tasks and responsibilities. This illustration shows what some of the tasks an Unpaid Carer might do:

Financial Care

Support with budgeting and any financial affairs

Personal Care

Support with dressing, washing and toileting

Physical Care

Support with lifting, assisting and moving around

Am I a Carer?

Domestic Care

Support with cooking, housework and shopping

Emotional Care

Offering moral support or company

Communication Care

Support with translation, confidence or other communication impairment

Health Care

Support with managing a health condition, administering medication or attending appointments

What is the difference between being a Carer for someone, and simply caring about someone?

Many people do not consider themselves a ‘Carer’. In your eyes, you may be simply fulfilling your role as caring wife or husband, son or daughter, mother or father, partner, grandparent, child, friend or neighbour. If the person that you care about has a serious illness, disability, mental health problem or addiction and they rely on you for unpaid help, then you are their Carer and you could be offered additional support and recognition for your caring role. To be defined as a Carer you do not need to be alone in supporting someone either – there can be several people who provide care as part of a family or support network team.

You also do not need to be claiming certain benefits to be classed as a Carer, you are entitled to access the same information, help and advice to support you to carry out your caring role. 

What support is there in Wiltshire?

Depending on who you care for will affect the services and organisations that support you. If you Care for someone over 18 with a disability, frailty, long term health condition or addiction, then the best first step is to contact Carers Together Wiltshire who can guide you to the right local support. If you are Caring for child with additional needs or a disability, then read the Parent Carer section below. If you are under 18 and caring for somebody then please read the Young Carers section, also below. 

A Parent Carer is someone who provides, or intends to provide, care for a child with additional needs (under the age of 18), who you have parental responsibly for. 

As a Parent Carer you may not see yourself as a Carer and think that you are just looking after your child. Professionals around you may sometimes view your role this way too and not recognise that you are a Carer as well as a parent. Recognising yourself as a Parent Carer is important as you will be able to move forward in accessing the right support, services and information that you require 

What support can I get? 
As a Parent Carer of a child with a Special Educational Need or Disability (SEND), it can be difficult to know what support is available and who to contact. Whether it is keeping up-to-date with Carer related news and information, some light touch support or more intense support, there is something to help everyone. 

How can I ask for my child’s needs to be assessed? 
As a Parent Carer you have the right to have your child and your family’s needs assessed by social services. The process that social services use to decide if additional help is required to meet your family’s needs is called a needs assessment. A Parent Carer themselves or a professional helping the family can request a needs assessment. 

There is a range of support available for Parent Carers in Wiltshire, here are some useful links: 

A Young Carer is someone aged 18 or under, who helps look after a friend or relative, who has a condition that means they cannot support themselves without that help. Young Carers often take on the practical and emotional caring responsibilities that would normally be expected of an adult. A Young Adult Carer is aged between 18 and 25, they may be juggling caring responsibilities with work or higher education. Young Carers and Young Adult Carers may also help to care for siblings or elderly relatives. 

The main source of support for Young Carers (aged 5 to 19 years) in Wiltshire, is from Youth Action Wiltshire, the national award-winning ‘youth arm’ of Community First.

Sidekick is an anonymous and confidential text service for young carers aged 13-18 in the UK, run by Action for Children. You can text any question to 07888 868 059 and they will text you back within 24 hours. You can find out more here.

Take a look at our Resources section and our What’s Online page that will provide you with access to a range of online support.