Toggle Contrast
Leave this site


What is a Carer?

A carer is someone who provides unpaid care and support to a family member or friend who need help with their day to day living due to a disability, mental or physical illness, substance misuse issue, or who needs extra help as they grow older.

Carers are a diverse group and every caring situation is unique. You are a carer if you provide a family member, friend or another person with assistance or support with daily living. This can include providing social, emotional, spiritual and physical support and managing challenging behaviour.

Carers can be:

  • adults caring for other adults
  • parents caring for children who are ill or have a disability
  • young people under 18 years who are looking after, or involved in the care of, a parent, sibling, relative or friend.

For some taking on a caring role can be sudden; someone in your family has an accident or your child is born with a disability. For others, caring responsibilities can grow gradually over time: your parents can’t manage on their own any longer; your partner’s or your child’s mental or physical health gradually worsens.

How Can Caring Affect You?

The amount and type of support that carers provide varies considerably. It can range from a few hours a week, such as picking up prescriptions and preparing meals, to providing emotional or personal care day and night.

Carers can help with personal things like getting someone dressed, helping them to the loo, helping them move about or administering their medication, they can also help with things like shopping, laundry, cleaning, cooking, filling in forms or managing money.

But without the right support caring can have a significant impact. Evidence shows that caring can cause ill health, poverty and social isolation.

Caring is something that will affect each and every one of us in our lifetime, whether we become a carer, or need care ourselves.

Carers Assessment

The purpose of a carers assessment is to identify whether you are eligible for support to help you care for the person you are looking after.

To find out more information about what Carers assessment you should apply for, please click here.

Useful Resources

As a carer, it is important to recognise and address your own needs and wellbeing – and there are useful contacts below that can help support you.

  • Action for Carers Surrey provides support for carers across the whole of Surrey including a telephone helpline, carers groups, support workers and training. There is also support for young carers.
  • The Carer’s Prescription is a secure online referral mechanism which allows doctors and other primary care health professionals to support carers they come into contact with by referring them to a range of support services available across Surrey (including a carer’s assessment). You can ask your GP for this. The purpose is to help support the health and wellbeing of the carer and improve the balance between their caring roles and their life apart from caring.
  • The Mind website gives more information about ‘how to cope when supporting someone else’. You will also be able to download a leaflet with further information about what counts as caring, how caring can affect your mental health, how you can look after yourself and what support there is available.
  • Surrey & Borders Partnership NHS Trust has information and support for carers of people with mental health needs.
  • The Royal College of Psychiatrists has information for carers, family and friends caring for someone with a mental illness, and information for parents and carers of young people with depression.

Other Useful Links for information around Carers: