A Carer is anyone, including children and adults, who looks after a family member, partner or friend who needs help because of their illness, frailty, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction and cannot cope without their support. The care they give is unpaid.’
You may have found yourself in a caring role suddenly; someone you love is taken ill or has an accident, your child is born with a disability. For others, caring creeps up unnoticed: your parents can’t manage on their own any longer, your daughter's drug dependency increasingly affects her ability to take care of herself or her children.
You may not identify with or particularly like the term 'carer' and that is absolutely fine. We are not here to label you; we want to ensure you have access to the right support and information when you need it most.
We recognise that you are all individuals and will manage your caring responsibilities differently with unique external and internal factors and influences. The information, advice and support you need will be personal to you. This is even more relevant if you are a young carer or a kinship carer as the support available and national policy and guidance are developed for these individual roles.
The cost of caring
When you start looking after a loved one, your role and that of the person you are supporting has changed. In order to cope with these changes, your relationship will need to adjust. This can be very difficult at first as both of you struggle to reassign yourselves. Becoming a carer can evoke many emotions in you that are difficult to accept and even understand.
It is not unusual to feel a sense of loss for your past life or bitterness towards your new situation. These are perfectly natural feelings that you do not have to feel guilty about. Of course, caring for a loved one is hugely rewarding but you can still feel trapped, lonely and frustrated from time to time (or all the time) and that is okay. There is support available locally that can help; they understand and can empathise with how you are feeling and guide you through your new or changed role.
Acknowledging your feelings and discussing them is a vital step in the caring process and can be very helpful in developing and maintaining your new relationship. You may find it helpful to talk through these emotions with someone. Find local services that can support you and move closer to taking care of yourself whilst taking care of your loved ones.
Carers Together- 'I am a carer' card
If you are concerned about how you can identify yourself as a Carer, Carers Together have created a new 'I am a Carer Card' to make this easier for you. This free card identifies the holder as a Carer who is registered with Carers Together. The card is available to new and existing Carers across South Tees. To request a card please call the Carers Together office on 01642 488977.
This card is offered in addition to the Local Authority Emergency Card's Scheme.
The Carers Emergency Card is for when an accident or emergency means the carer cannot look after the person they care for and if no other arrangements can be made.
Carers who apply will be issued with a small card (the size of a credit card) that identifies the person as a carer. It does not contain any personal information.
- A reference number
- The Adult Single Point of Access Team telephone number
- Out of Hours Emergency Duty Team telephone number
- The reference number links to the Adult Social Care database which holds details about the Carer, the person they care for and any emergency contacts.
This information is treated in the strictest confidence.
How does the scheme work?
In an emergency, the Adult Single Point of Access will get in touch with the people who have been nominated along with the person they care for.
If the Department is unable to get in touch with the nominated emergency contacts or if there aren’t any nominated emergency contacts, Adult Social Care will arrange alternative support. The Department will make sure the person who is cared for is safe.
The person who is cared for can also have a card. The card will be linked to the Carers information on the Adult Social Care database.
Want to know more about the Carers Emergency Card?
You can contact Carers Together who can support both Middlesbrough carers and Redcar & Cleveland carers to obtain their carers emergency card on 01642 488977 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
I don't want a Carers Emergency Card
If for any reason carers decide not to carry an emergency carers card we recommend that they create an emergency plan with the person they care for, to use in circumstances where help from other people to deliver care may be needed. Depending on the circumstances, this could be help from family or friends or a care provider.
To create an emergency plan that fits the needs of the person you care for, you will need to set out:
- the name and address and any other contact details of the person you look after
- who you and the person you look after would like to be contacted in an emergency
- details of any medication the person you look after is taking
- details of any ongoing treatment they need
- details of any medical appointments they need to keep
You should also ensure that it is in a format that can readily be shared with other people who will need to discuss the plan with the person you care for.
Taking on caring responsibilities isn't easy, what you are doing is making a huge contribution not only to your loved ones but to the wider community and to health and social care.
Here are some locals who like many of us recognise and value what you are doing:
Steph McGovern, television presenter:
George Friend, Middlesbrough FC Captain:
Andy Preston, Town Mayor:
Mark Adams, Joint Director of Public Health South Tees: