Coronavirus advice for carers
Many people have starting caring for someone over the course of the coronavirus pandemic, while others have seen their caring role change or are having to provide more care than they used to. While you're there for the person you care for, we're here for you.
- Am I a carer?
- Can I provide care if I have coronavirus symptoms or am self-isolating?
- Can I still provide care if the person I care for has coronavirus symptoms or is self-isolating?
- The person I care for is nervous about care services at home. What can I do?
- What support is available to me as a carer?
Am I a carer?
Being a carer means different things to different people, and you might not consider yourself a carer. Maybe you pop to the shops for someone you know or you help someone with household tasks. But however you provide support - whether you're paid or not - then you're a carer.
Being a carer during the coronavirus pandemic has brought with it its own challenges:
- If you were caring for someone before the pandemic, you might have found it difficult to adjust to restrictions and been forced to find new routines.
- If you've become a carer for the first time during or as a result of the pandemic, you may have been cut off from your own support networks and found it particularly difficult.
- And as restrictions ease, balancing your life and your caring responsibitlies can be difficult. You might also be worried about spreading coronavirus if you're out and about a bit more or as safety measures are eased.
Can I provide care if I have coronavirus symptoms or am self-isolating?
If you feel unwell, have any symptoms of coronavirus or are required to self-isolate - for example, you may have been advised to by NHS Test and Trace - then you shouldn't carry on providing care.
If you can't provide care for a period of time, you should let a family member, friend, trusted neighbour or local community support group know so someone can step in and help.
However, if these options aren't available to you for whatever reason, you should:
Can I still provide care if the person I care for has coronavirus symptoms or is self-isolating?
If the person you care for has coronavirus symptoms, you can carry on caring for them as long as you're not considered 'clinically vulnerable' or 'extremely clinically vulnerable' and were originally told to shield.
If you do fall into any of those categories, you should ask family and friends to help provide care if this is possible.
If you need to carry on providing care because there are no other options, or you don't fall into one of the categories above and continue with your caring responsibilities, you should try and minimise any risks by keeping your distance and wearing a face covering where possible, and washing your hands regularly.
Would you like more support?
Whether it's what help might be available from the council, financial support, or emotional support we have more information specifically for you as a carer.
The person I care for is nervous about care services at home. What can I do?
It's understandable that the person you care for may be nervous about letting people into their home, even as - or particularly because - restrictions are being eased.
This might mean you're being asked to do more than you had to before. Or you might not know what you can do to make things easier or safer. But there are things you can do:
- Make sure anyone coming into your home is aware of the situation and can be as accomodating and understanding as possible.
- Ask anyone coming into the home to wash their hands and wear appropriate PPE.
- Slowly introduce people back into the home.
What support is available to me as a carer?
As a carer, it's so important you're supported too and you know what's available for you.
Being a carer is rewarding but at times it can be challenging - and for many it's only become more challenging during the course of the coronavirus pandemic.
There might not be enough hours in the day, you might be finding it hard to balance different aspects of your life or you might just be quite drained and feeling low. And it's OK to feel that way.
If you're finding it difficult to cope with your caring responsibilities it's important to talk to someone - both for your benefit and the benefit of the person you care for. Is there a friend or loved one you can talk to?
If you're feeling low and out of sorts, then you should talk to your GP. You can find more information about your mental wellbeing here.
If you're a carer, you might be entitled to some financial support, such as Carer's Allowance.
You have to meet certain criteria, and even if you don't actually receive Carer's Allowance, a successful claim can help you receive more money through other benefits.
We have a page with more information about Carer's Allowance and whether you might be eligible.
There might come a time when you just need a bit more support or you're unable to care for someone like you used to - that time may have already come.
The coronavirus pandemic and circumstances might be proving difficult, or the person's needs may have changed and you're just not able to offer them the care they need.
There are different ways to care for someone, and just because you're no longer caring for them it doesn't mean you stop caring about someone.
We have more information, whether you need a break from caring or you think the person you care for might need more support.
Do you want more information?
We have more information written just for you.
- Is the person you're caring for in a care home or about to move into a care home? We've outlined the rules on visiting someone in a care home.