Who is a carer?

BSL Support

A carer is someone who helps another person, usually a relative or friend, in their day-to-day life. This is not the same as someone who provides care professionally, or through a voluntary organisation (Care Act 2014).

The person supported may not be able to cope without the support of the carer due to:

  • Illness
  • Disability
  • Mental health issues
  • Substance misuse problems.

The carer does not get paid for providing support. 

When people need support with their day to day living, most of the time they will turn to their family and friends. Mutual caring is when two people look after each other.

Caring responsibilities can arise unexpectedly or can develop gradually over time and whilst it can be rewarding, it can also be challenging.

Many carers often put their own lives on hold to provide care and support to someone close to them, this may impact their:

  • Health and wellbeing
  • Relationships
  • Employment opportunities
  • Finances
  • Social and leisure activities.

Not all carers relate to or accept the term ‘carer’ and may view their caring responsibilities as part of another role, such as that of a:

  • Partner / spouse
  • Parent
  • Child
  • Friend.