Do you look after someone? Or perhaps you know someone who does? Families, friends and neighbours often provide crucial care for someone who couldn’t manage without their help. You could be caring for a relative, partner or friend who is ill, frail, disabled or has mental health or substance misuse problems.
If you are a carer, you have the right to a carer’s assessment. Carers Support Centre, a local charity, can help you with this.
In your assessment, you can talk about the impact caring has on your life. This will give you some space to think about how caring affects your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing and how this may change in the future. An assessment also often leads to a small one-off payment that will give you the chance to take a short break or do something for your own wellbeing.
Bristol carer, Elmas, looks after his wife, Joan, who has a terminal illness. When Jan Mussi of Carers Support Centre first visited them, Joan was bedbound and declining fast. Elmas was under a huge amount of stress.
When Jan helped Elmas with his assessment, she realised his wife wasn’t claiming her entitlement to benefit. She helped him complete the paperwork and they were awarded the highest rate of Attendance Allowance.
Before Elmas’ assessment, they received a daily visit from home care to help Joan wash and dress. This gave him chance to do a weekly shop but it didn’t give him any time for himself. He even had to cancel his own health appointment because he didn’t have anyone to sit with his wife.
After his assessment, Elmas was awarded a one-off payment to pay for a sitting service. Then his niece offered to come and stay for three months to help take care of his wife. Jan contacted the council on his behalf and they agreed the payment could be used to pay for the travel. Elmas’ niece is now staying with them and caring for Joan.
Elmas said: “I am so happy how things have worked out. I have more help and it has made such a difference. I lost weight with all the stress and now I am putting weight back on. Joan has benefitted as well because she is getting such good care from my niece.”
Get in touch with CarersLine at Carers Support Centre to find out more about carer’s assessments. If you care for an adult who has a support package from Bristol City Council, you can call the Integrated Carers Team at the council on 0117 352 1668. If the person you care for does not receive support services from the council, or if you are a parent carer or a young carer, Carers Support Centre can provide advice and guidance.