The term carer is used to identify someone who provides unpaid care for a friend, family member or neighbour who due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction cannot cope without their support

Whether you’ve just started looking after a loved one or have been supporting someone for a while, this checklist could help you get the support and information you need.

Checklist below provided by AGE UK (with some links to further information on their website).

For you

1. Get a carer’s assessment with your local council

If you are a carer you are entitled to a carer’s assessment. The council will help you find out what you need and what could help you with your caring role.

For more information regarding carer’s assessments in Blackpool and how to apply click here.

2. Register as a carer with your GP

It is important that you let us know that you are caring for someone. Being identified as a carer entitles you to additional health services such as a free flu jab. Speak to the GP/nurse or receptionist the next time you contact the surgery or fill in this form to let us know.

Carer Identification Form

3. Make time for yourself and your interests as much as possible.

When you’re caring for someone else, your own interests and hobbies can often take a back seat. Although it can be hard to carve out time, it’s so important that you still do the things that make you feel like you.

Are there any friends or family who could support you for an hour, or any local day centres that could give you a bit of a break every week?

Go to our services for carers page for details of local day services.

4. Take a break from caring

You wouldn’t work an office job for a full year without any holiday, and caring should be no different. Even if you can’t afford it on your own, there may be support available to help you with respite care.

You can find out more about the respite care available locally during your carer’s assessment or by contacting Blackpool Carers Centre for advice.

5. Apply for carer’s allowance

Carer’s Allowance is worth £67.25 per week (for April 2020-21) and is usually paid every four weeks. You’ll also get National Insurance credits each week towards your pension if you’re under pension age.

You could be eligible if you:

  • spend at least 35 hours a week caring for a disabled person (you don’t have to live with them or be related to them)
  • care for someone who receives the higher-rate or middle-rate care component of Disability Living Allowance, either rate of Personal Independence Payment daily living component, or any rate of Attendance Allowance
  • do not earn more than £123 a week (after deductions)
  • are not in full-time education

If you’re claiming Universal Credit, you may be able to get an extra amount because of your caring role without actually applying for Carer’s Allowance. This is known as a carer element.

To claim:

Call the Carer’s Allowance Unit on 0800 731 0297 (textphone: 0800 731 0317).

Visit GOV.UK to download a claim form or claim online.

6. Tell your employer about your caring responsibilities

Your caring responsibilities may affect your productivity at work. That’s totally natural – having 2 jobs is bound to be stressful and tiring. But if your employer knows, they may be able to help you deal with the stress, and they’ll understand if you need to take days off at the last minute too.

7. Think about asking for flexible working

If at some point balancing work and caring becomes too much, you could ask your employer about opportunities for flexible working. That could mean working from home a few days a week, or working something like 5 days in 4, then having an extra day off. You have certain rights as a carer, like the right to time off in an emergency, and the right to request flexible working.

For the person you care for

1. Make sure they have a care needs assessment

If you have the permission of the person you care for, get in touch with your local council to ask for a care needs assessment.

A social care professional will assess how they manage everyday tasks and what they want to achieve. The professional will look at the person’s needs and consider what care and support could be useful.

Blackpool Council Social Care Assessment

Telephone: 01253 477592

2. Help them complete a benefits check

The person you care for may be entitled to different benefits to you. If they need help finding out what to apply for, they can use the AGE UK benefits calculator. Alternatively, schedule an appointment with our social prescriber who may also be able to support you and the person you care for.

3. Consider if any home adaptations would make their life easier.

There are changes you can make in your home to make life with a long-term condition or disability a lot easier. From simple, practical tips, to useful technology and larger adaptations, find out what you could do to allow the person you care for to stay happy, healthy and comfortable at home.

Home adaptations to simplify home tasks – Age UK

4. Thinking about the future

Although difficult, it’s useful for the person you care for to think about the future and getting their affairs in order. It may be useful to think about their future care needs, their preferences, powers of attorney and whether their will is up to date.

Download this checklist

Print out this checklist to stick on your fridge or give to someone you know who is caring for someone. They may learn something useful that makes their life easier.