Are you a carer?
Under the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014, a carer is defined as:
“A person who provides or intends to provide care for an adult or disabled child” (but excludes paid carers)
In recent years there has been confusion over the title ‘carer’ because paid workers, who were previously known as home helps, and foster parents, were both re-christened as home carers and care givers.
You are a ‘carer’ if you provide unpaid care to a family member, a friend or another person in need of assistance or support with daily living.
Caring roles are various and many, some examples are: a retired couple where one partner develops dementia or suffers a stroke or other debilitating illness, new parents who suddenly have to face the challenge of raising a child who has additional needs, working families who juggle work with caring for elderly and frail relatives, caring for people with a mental illness or people with a substance addiction and those receiving palliative care.
Carers can be adults caring for other adults, parents caring for children who are ill or have a disability, or young carers caring for a parent, sibling, relative or friend.
Often individuals do not identify themselves as carers, as they are providing support out of love or friendship for the person they are caring for.
Carers may live in the same house as the person they are caring for or live close by and visit on a regular basis.
Some carers may even live away and visit less often but still feel responsibility towards the person they care for.
Anyone can become a carer at any time, so it is important to recognise when a typical relationship develops the added dimension of one person taking on a caring role for another.
The need for care can happen gradually because of a progressive medical condition, or growing older and becoming frail. Or it can happen suddenly, for example, because of an accident or following the birth of a child with additional needs. A carer’s role might include providing physical care and support, assisting with day to day matters, and giving social, emotional and wellbeing support to the person they care for.