If you sometimes feel overwhelmed by your caring responsibilities, you’re not alone. Carers can often feel stressed, anxious and depressed because of their caring role. This can lead to physical symptoms, feeling run down or having little energy. 

It’s not unusual for some carers to feel guilt, anger or that they are trapped by their situation. 

Sometimes carers can feel they’re grieving for a lost way of life, or for the way things used to be. If you feel depressed or anxious, speak to your GP. Talking to someone you trust may help you find ways of changing how you feel.

Carers Assessments

A Carers Assessment is a discussion about how your caring role affects you in your day-to-day life and the things you need help with. It is not a test of your ability to care, which is why in Northumberland it is often referred to as a ‘carer’s needs assessment’. It will help you think about the things that will make it easier for you to continue to provide care. It will help you consider the things you manage well and identify the caring tasks you struggle with. It’s also a chance to discuss your own needs, for example your health; how caring is affecting close relationships; other commitments like work, education or caring for more than one person.

Your Carers Assessment will normally be carried out by the Care Manager who assessed the person you care for. If you don’t have a Care Manager, contact your local Adult Care Team (Social Services) and they will arrange your Assessment, even if the person you care for doesn’t want involvement with Social Services.

The Care Manager will point you to sources of support and information, and may arrange services to help you or the person you care for (there will usually be charges for these). A Support Plan, either for you yourself or jointly with the person you care for, will set out the outcomes agreed from your Assessment.

Your Assessment should be reviewed every year, and when circumstances change.

The Northumberland Family and Friends Carers Guide can help you prepare for an Assessment, or you might like to use the Carers Wellbeing Check ask your Carer Support Worker for a copy of the Check, or ring the Information Line to request one (01670 320025).”

Carers Emergency Card

The Carers Emergency Card is available to carers registered with Carers Northumberland, and offers peace of mind that, should something unexpected happen to prevent you being with the person you care for, temporary support can be put in place until longer term arrangements are possible.

By deciding in advance what you and the person you care for would like to happen, you can ensure a speedy response if you’re taken ill, the car breaks down or something else gets in the way of you being there when you need to be.

Carers Northumberland works with the British Red Cross to administer this free card. Download the information and application form today, and register with Carers Northumberland if you haven’t already.

Carers Support Fund

Research has shown that regular access to short breaks can help carers continue to provide care for longer, offering time to themselves and the opportunity to recharge their batteries.

Recognising that family finances can often make it difficult for carers to do this, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Trust – Adult Services makes money available from the Carers Grant to be paid directly to adult carers of adults to help them take a break: the Carers Support Fund is available to carers registered with Carers Northumberland.

Accessing the Fund involves completing a short application form, and results in an award of £25-150, depending on the carer’s circumstances. The money must be spent on the carer, but can be used in whatever way offers the best break. Carers have used it to pay for gym memberships, buy hobby equipment, visit friends and much more.

If you would like to apply please call us on 01670 320025

A similar fund exists for young carers under 18.