Leaflet: Do you look after someone?


Support for you if you are a carer.

May 2024 (IL04)

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Who is a carer?

If you look after, help or support someone who wouldn’t be able to manage everyday life without your help, you are a carer.

You may be caring for a partner, family member, friend or neighbour, and you may be a young carer looking after an adult family member. You don’t have to live with the person to be their carer, and the help can be physical, emotional, or practical.

The person you look after, help or support might:

  • be an older person
  • have a physical disability
  • have a long-term health condition
  • live with a mental health condition
  • have issues with substance misuse
  • have a learning disability or autism

If you do this, and are not paid for it, then this leaflet is for you.

Caring for a child or young person with a disability or special educational needs

Parents and carers of disabled children (up to 18) can apply for an assessment, which looks at:

  • how caring affects your life, including your health and wellbeing
  • difficulties you’re experiencing
  • what you would like to change about your caring role

After an assessment, the local authority will give you information about other services and ideas to support you in your caring role.

To enquire about a parent carer’s assessment contact the Customer Relations Team in Children’s Services:

  • Phone: 0345 60 80 192
  • Apply online
  • Speak to any service currently supporting your family

Families of children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) sometimes need practical support. This might include help around benefits, work, housing, or adaptations to the home.

Amaze – Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Information, Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS) East Sussex are a local charity. They offer free, independent, and impartial advice for all matters relating to SEND. 

Website: Amaze Sussex
Email: sendiass@amazesussex.org.uk
Phone: 01273 772 289

If you are a parent carer of a disabled child up to age 18 you can ask for a carer’s assessment. See East Sussex Local Offer for more information.

Care for the Carers run social and wellbeing activities for carers, and also have helpful digital resources and factsheets. See Care for the Carers contact details.

Young carers

If you are under 18 and look after a family member, like a parent, or sibling, then you are a young carer. The family member you care for may have a physical or mental health condition.

Young carers often do extra jobs at home, such as cooking, cleaning and helping someone get washed and dressed. This can sometimes get in the way of concentrating on schoolwork or spending time with friends and can impact on your day-to-day life.

East Sussex Young Carers offer supports young carers aged 5 to 17. They offer information, advice, guidance and signposting through the Young Carers Hub. They also arrange for young carers to meet each other, chat and have fun!

You can get face-to-face support from trained staff on your own or as a family.

Website: East Sussex Young Carers
Email:  East Sussex Young Carers
Phone: 0300 111 1110

Care for the Carers also runs activities and groups for young carers. See Care for the Carers contact details.

Assessing your support needs

If you provide, or plan to provide, unpaid support to someone who could not manage without your help, you have a right to your own assessment, even if the person you care for has refused an assessment of their needs.

Your carer's assessment will look at your needs, strengths, wider support network, difficulties and community, and work with you to find solutions.

You can complete a carer's assessment online or contact us.

If you need help to fill in your carer's assessment, Care for the Carers can help you. See Care for the Carers contact details.

Eligibility criteria

To confirm if you are eligible for support, we use ‘eligibility criteria’ set by the government. There are three questions that we will ask in relation to eligibility for carers:

  1. Are your needs the result of you providing necessary care?
  2. Does your caring role affect you? It could affecting your physical or mental health, or preventing you from doing something important to you. We call these 'outcomes' and they include:
    • caring responsibilities for a child
    • providing care to other people
    • maintaining a habitable home environment
    • managing and maintaining nutrition
    • developing and maintaining family/personal relationships
    • engaging in work, training, education or volunteering
    • using and accessing necessary facilities or services in the community
    • engaging in recreational activities
  3. Is there, or could there be, a significant impact on your wellbeing?

You do not need to have an assessment to access carer support. There are range of organisations commissioned to support carers. Get in touch with Care for the Carers for more information about what is available.

Supporting you to care

If you are struggling to look after the person you care for, it might be helpful for them to have their own social care needs assessment. If this shows they have eligible needs, we can discuss support options to reduce some of your caring responsibilities.

Respite care

Respite care allows you to take a break from caring, while the person you care for is looked after by someone else. Respite care is a service to the person you care for and is usually chargeable to them. They will need their own needs assessment to find out if they meet the ‘eligibility criteria’.

There are a range of respite care options that could be provided:

  • in the home of the person you care for
  • in a residential or nursing home
  • through activities in the community

You can find out more in the leaflet: What you will need to pay towards the cost of your care and support.

Respite for healthcare appointments and training

You can apply for funding to pay for respite care so you can attend your own healthcare appointments, for example the GP, dentist or hospital. We will cover the cost of replacement care for the person you support, so there is no extra cost to you, or the person you care for. Up to 12 hours of care will be funded.

You can also use this funding to attend training courses that will help you in your caring role, such as first aid or dealing with stress.

For more information, and to apply for a health appointments respite grant contact Care for the Carers.

If the person you support has home care or respite at home arranged by us, you can contact the provider directly to arrange this. A care worker will look after the person you care for while you are out, or accompany you both to the appointment.

You need to contact the provider in good time to allow them to arrange the replacement care. Please tell them as soon as possible if your appointment is changed or cancelled.

Adults with direct payments should use this budget for care so their carer can attend healthcare appointments.

What is Technology Enabled Care?

This is traditionally known as Telecare, community alarm or Lifeline services.

These services help people live independently at home, with the support of technology. People can call for assistance, get medication alerts, get environmental alerts (like smoke detectors) and personal sensors (like fall detectors).

This gives carers peace of mind, knowing they can leave the house, go to work or go to sleep, and be alerted if there is a problem.

See: Lifeline, monitors and alarms


TeleCheck is a personal, proactive phone service that ensures adults are supported to live safely and securely in their own community and maintain their wellbeing.

It offers a schedule of phone calls for up to six months. The calls could be welfare checks, prompts to eat or drink, medication reminders or just a brief informal chat to relieve anxiety.

For more information, contact Adult Social Care.

Support for you

Back care

Back pain is common among carers. Washing, dressing or moving someone can take its toll on your back. If you have back pain, don’t ignore it. Contact your GP for help and advice.

Health and Social Care Connect (HSCC) can also refer you to an Occupational Therapy clinic for information and advice about protecting your back.

The clinics can provide equipment and small adaptations around your home to support the person you care for. Please contact Adult Social Care for more details.

East Sussex Carer’s Card

Carers worry about getting ill or having an accident, because of the impact it may have on the person they look after. If you are a carer looking after someone in East Sussex, then you can register for a free Carer’s Card for peace of mind. It will:

  • identify you as a carer
  • launch a back-up respite plan (the Carers Respite Emergency Support Scheme, or 'CRESS') in an emergency
  • give you access to savings and discounts (look out for the Carer’s Card window sticker)

You can set up your CRESS emergency plan by contacting Care for the Carers, as part of your carer’s assessment, or online via our Emergency respite care webpage.

For more information about the Carer's Card, see Get a Carer's Card – Care for the Carers.

Making decisions for someone else

When you are caring for someone, you may need to make decisions on their behalf. A lasting power of attorney (LPA) is a legal document that lets someone appoint one or more people (known as ‘attorneys’) to assist or to make decisions on their behalf.

This gives people more control over what happens if they can’t make decisions when they need to.

You can find helpful information on how best to manage someone else's affairs at Make decisions on behalf of someone | GOV.UK

You can also read our factsheet: Information about managing someone’s affairs.

Keeping people safe

Everyone has a right to live a life free from abuse and neglect. Safeguarding adults is about stopping abuse and neglect from happening.

Caring for someone can be very rewarding and also very demanding. Sometimes people receiving care harm or abuse their carer. This may happen unintentionally or because they have a condition that changes their behaviour.

Carers manage challenging situations, which can lead to them abusing or neglecting the person they care for, intentionally or unintentionally.

Abuse and neglect can come in many different forms, including:

  • Physical abuse includes being hit, slapped, kicked, pinched or misuse of medication
  • Domestic abuse an incident or patterns of controlling, coercive, threatening, violent or abusive behaviour between intimate partners or family members over the age of 16
  • Psychological or emotional abuse being shouted at, ridiculed, bullied, threatened or controlled by intimidation or fear
  • Neglect and acts of omission when medical, physical or emotional needs are ignored
  • Financial abuse stealing or misuse of money or property, scams and being pressured into giving people money or paying for things
  • Sexual abuse sexual activity that someone does not or cannot agree to
  • Organisational abuse neglect and poor professional practice in a care setting, such as a hospital, care home, or in a person’s own home
  • Self-neglect when a person cannot or will not care for themselves or allow others to
  • Modern slavery including, but not limited to, slavery, sexual exploitation, forced labour or domestic servitude
  • Discriminatory abuse occurs when people are harassed, insulted or treated badly because of age, culture, mental health needs, disability, gender, race, sexual orientation, religion or belief

How you can report abuse and neglect

If a crime is in progress, it is an emergency or if life is at risk, call 999. To report a crime when it is not an emergency call 101.

If you have a concern about someone else, let them know that help is available and talk to them about what they want to do.

If you suspect abuse or neglect, contact us on 0345 60 80 191 at any time (calls outside of our opening hours will be connected to the Emergency Duty Service).

What will happen next?

We will always take a report of abuse or neglect seriously and will ensure the circumstances are looked into fully, in a fair and confidential way.

We will:

  • talk with the person who is at risk to find out what they want to happen
  • support the person to have an advocate (someone to represent them) if they need one
  • talk to the police if a crime may have been committed
  • talk to other agencies that need to be involved
  • agree the best way of helping, including considering other types of support

What can I do for myself?

This is a checklist of things that could help you in your caring role. It includes tips from other carers of things they wished they had done sooner.

Look after yourself

Being a carer can be exhausting and it is important to look after and take time for yourself.

Get online

The internet is full of information, support and discussion forums for carers. There are also apps you can download to help. Think about which area of your life you might need help with and then search the app store to see what is available. Many apps are free or cheap but make sure you check before you download!

Care for the Carers provides free digital resources, including resources for young adult carers. The Jointly app, available free through Care for the Carers, lets you share and co-ordinate caring, inviting others to join a ‘circle of care’ for the person you care for.

To find out more and register to receive your free digital access code, visit Digital resources – Care for the Carers.

Tell your GP

Tell your GP that you are a carer. This can be recorded on your medical records. You may be eligible for additional support like free flu vaccinations or health checks.

You should also inform your GP if you are experiencing stress, anxiety or depression due to your caring role.

Register for online services with your GP so that you can:

  • book and cancel appointments
  • order repeat prescriptions
  • look at your medical records

Include your family and friends

Coping alone may have an impact on your health. Many carers turn to family and friends for support, and to give them a break from caring.

Let people at work know

Continuing to work whilst caring can give you a better balance in your life and provide social interaction outside of your caring role, but it can be daunting.

You may need support and flexibility at different times. Talk to your employer about taking time off or working flexibly. They may have advice and support in place for employees with caring responsibilities.

Many carers consider giving up work, but it is important to understand the implications this could have on your income, quality of life and future pension entitlements.

Find out more about caring for someone whilst working, including your rights at work, at Carers UK.

Make sure you and the person you care for are receiving the right benefits

If you need help with benefits, are struggling to pay bills or are concerned about growing debt, free confidential advice is available.

Contact the welfare benefits helpline

Email: benefitseastsussex@harcuk.com

Phone: 0333 344 0681

Lines are open 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. 03 calls cost no more than national rate calls to 01 or 02 numbers and count towards inclusive minutes on mobile and landline packages .

Some energy and water suppliers will cap your bills if there is someone in the house receiving a qualifying benefit. Contact your supplier to see if you or the person you care for qualify. This can be particularly helpful for people who use more heating or water as a result of their illness or disability.

If you are living with or caring for someone with cancer, Macmillan Cancer Support can provide free and confidential benefits advice.

Website: Macmillan Cancer Support
Email:  macmillan@moneyadviceplus.com
Phone: 01323 635 989

Register with the East Sussex Carers Centre

Care for the Carers run the East Sussex Carers Centre, the single access point for all local carer services. They provide information, advice and guidance for carers, run an accredited counselling service and host support groups and activities. They can also help you access support available from other organisations and link you up with other carers in your position.

Website: Care for the Carers
Email: info@cftc.org.uk
Phone: 01323 738 390
Text: 07860 077 300

Other support available

East Sussex carers’ directory

The Council and NHS Sussex fund a range of organisations that can benefit your health and wellbeing. You can get information and helpful support from the organisations listed by getting in touch with them directly. See Carers’ directory.

East Sussex 1Space

East Sussex 1Space is an online directory of care, support and wellbeing services, from formal health and social care organisations, through to local community groups and initiatives.

Website: East Sussex 1Space

Library services

If you are caring for someone who can’t be left alone, East Sussex Library and Information Services can help you use their services.

Contact them to find out about the Home Library Service, online library and reminiscence boxes.

You can also use computers and access the internet for free at your local library. Computer buddy volunteers are there to support you.

Contact the library online
Website: East Sussex Libraries
Phone: 0345 60 80 196

Care Choices

Care Choices produces directories of care services, which include advice on choosing a care home. Contact them for a copy of the East Sussex edition or view it online.

Website: Care Choices
Email: enquiries@carechoices.co.uk
Phone: 0800 389 2077

Care Quality Commission

You can also get information and ratings of care providers from the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the organisation that regulates health and social care services.

Website: Care Quality Commission
Phone: 03000 61 61 61

East Sussex Community Information Service (ESCIS)

ESCIS is a website full of local and community information, developed and managed by East Sussex County Council.

Website: ESCIS
Email: ESCIS team
Phone: 01273 481 754

National helplines

Carers UK

Carers UK is a national charity providing information and advice to carers and the professionals who support them.

Website: Carers UK
Email: advice@carersuk.org
Phone: 0808 808 7777 (9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday)

Carers Trust

Carers Trust is a national charity providing help and advice to carers through its nationwide network of local carers organisations.

Website: Carers Trust
Email: info@carers.org
Phone: 0300 772 9600

Macmillan Cancer Support

If someone you care about has been diagnosed with cancer, find out about support and get information about different cancer types.

Website: Macmillan Cancer Support
Phone: 0808 808 0000 (8am to 8pm, 7 days a week)

Getting involved

Carers Voices Network

The Carers Voices Network is facilitated by Care for the Carers and helps carers play an active part in planning, developing, monitoring and evaluating services.

Network members influence decision making through focus groups, an annual conference, regular consultations and attend local service planning and development groups. It gives carers a voice on important issues that affect them and informs Care for the Carers’ strategic work.

For more information on the Carers Voices Network contact Care for the Carers.

Small grants for carers groups

Small grants of up to £500 per year, are available for groups to fund projects, events, activities or training which directly benefit carers. Application forms can be found on the Care for the Carers website: Small grants available for carers services.

The People Bank

Help East Sussex County Council shape services by joining the People Bank. It is a database of volunteers who have an interest in our services. Once you have joined and told us how you’d like to be involved, the People Bank team will match you with opportunities.

Website: Join the People Bank
Email: Adult Social Care Consultation
Phone: 01273 481 565

Make a complaint or give feedback about your experience of social care

We want to provide high quality services for everyone in East Sussex, so it’s always helpful to tell us what you think, whether it is good or bad.

If you want to compliment a member of staff or service, you can contact the team directly.

If you want to make a complaint, a good start is to contact the person or team who has been involved in the situation you want to complain about. They will try to sort things out quickly.

If you would rather speak to someone else contact our Complaints and Feedback Team to give feedback, suggestions or compliments.

For more information about making comments or complaints please read our leaflet 'Your feedback matters'.

If you want someone to make a complaint on your behalf, please also read our factsheet ‘Independent advocacy – someone to speak up for you’.

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