“You are a better carer when you look after yourself a bit, because who will look after the unwell person if you become unwell?”
Jo

Overview

You may be looking after a relative or friend on a regular basis because you care about them, or you believe it is your duty or what's expected of you. Perhaps you spend a few hours every day helping a person with a mental health condition get to medical appointments or social outings, or shopping. Or maybe you manage all aspects of their lives 24/7.

Whatever the reasons or level of care, you may not actually identify yourself as a carer. You may not even be aware of your need for self-care, or that there are support services and resources you can access.

While caring for someone can be rewarding, it can also be emotionally and physically challenging. If you are a long-term carer, or caring for an elderly person or someone with a permanent disability or terminal illness, you may feel lonely or isolated.

You may feel that your needs are not important compared to those you are caring for. You may not even feel entitled to seek or get help. But, as the pre-take-off flight safety instructions say: If you put your own oxygen mask on first, you're then able to help others.

Recognising the crucial role that you play as a carer is an important first step. Take a look at the resources below to help you get started. We also have more information about how to support someone.

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Page last updated 13th December 2017