Caring for your family: What support is available?


When a loved one is poorly, or reaching the later stages of life, their responsibilities can often fall to other members of the family.

Understandably, this is an upsetting and confusing time and something you hoped you’d never have to take on, so it can be difficult to know
where to start. However daunting this situation may seem, there is support available and
ways and means to help.

Seek advice
Caring for a loved one can be a lonely situation, and the responsibility can weigh heavily on you. This is why it’s so important to seek help and advice where you can. If your loved one has passed away and you’re planning a funeral, or you need to organise end of life care,
there is help out there. Overwhelming situations can be assisted by online help centres with advice and there are also a number of phone lines you can call. Speaking to friends and other family members can also help lessen the burden as you can
share the load – if you’re offered help, it’s important you consider taking it.

Emotional and practical support
Accepting support from your family is a great idea and will definitely be of help. However, if you’re caring for a loved one you will probably need to be on call 24/7 and may need additional support. You’ll also be organising medical appointments, cooking, cleaning and
possibly even living with that person in order to care for them. Again, there are many platforms online where you can read articles to seek advice, but there are also ways of receiving emotional and practical support. If this is a long-term situation you may be eligible for a carers break and respite care. For this, you will first need to go through a carers’ assessment so speak to your local council or carers’ centre for more information.


Care homes
If the situation means you will need to seek the support of a care home, there are a few things you will need to consider. The person you’re caring for may have communicated their wishes to you which will make this situation far more smooth. This will be an important decision and therefore you should follow a number of steps along the way. Most importantly, this will need to be a comfortable place for them to live so, take a considered approach when looking for the appropriate location.

Financial support
Care can become expensive, so it’s good to know you may be able to receive financial support to help you in your situation. If you’re caring for someone at home you may be eligible for something called Carer’s Allowance. With this, you could receive £66.15 a week if you spend at least 35 hours each week caring for someone – they need to get certain benefits for you to qualify.

Unfortunately, residential care is costly. With any luck, the loved one you are caring for saved up for the possibility of this situation, but even if they didn’t, financial support may be available. You could receive assistance from your council, or even the NHS. There are many things to take into account when caring for your loved ones but remember you don’t need to struggle alone. Ensure you accept the help of loved ones, seek advice and search for the additional support you may be entitled to.


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