A ‘Carer’ or ‘Caregiver’ is someone who provides unpaid care to relatives or friends who are either mentally unwell, physically impaired or they are impaired by sickness or old age, for some it is a combination of them. Some Carers also look after more than one person for example their elderly parents. A Carer or Caregiver helps them with everyday living. This can be tasks such as bathing and dressing, talking with healthcare professionals, giving medication, helping with finances, sorting meals and household chores for people who cannot manage these things for themselves. You can be considered a carer even from a young age with ‘young carers’ being supported by ‘young carer groups’
Caring can be extremely difficult and very isolating, financial worries, workplace discrimination and poor health; physical injury or stress are just some of the problems carers face. I find as a Carer myself that I haven’t always been well supported, and that often I am the ‘First to blame, last to be heard’ one of the biggest problems for me currently is accessing support while looking after very young children.
I still think there is still a way to go on carers being seen as part of the team looking after someone, especially from what I see with being a mental health Carer. The fact it is still sometimes suggested those who look after someone with mental illness shouldn’t even be referred to as ‘carers’ is something I don’t agree with or find helpful.
Not everyone realises straight away, or for some at all, that they are in fact considered a ‘carer’ it took me almost five years to realise that is who I was, which in that time meant I wasn’t getting the support I was entitled to. A lot of relatives or friends just consider it, like I did, something that they do.