Types of Caring Roles

Carers MK recognises that there are different types of caring roles and that the support needs to be tailored to the specific caring roles.

An adult carer is someone aged 18+ looking after a family member, friend or neighbour who is disabled or ill, has poor mental health, is frail or has an addiction. You may or may not be in receipt of Carer’s Allowance. Your caring role may be for a couple of hours a week or 24/7. Your caring role may involve a variety of tasks including helping with personal care, household tasks, managing finances or medication, arranging appointments or providing emotional support. Alternatively, your caring role may involve providing support in person or from a distance, for example, over the phone.

A parent carer is someone looking after a child or young person who has an illness, disability or an additional need. You do not need to have parental responsibility; you may be a grandparent, other relative or family friend.

A young person aged 16-25, caring for a family member, friend or neighbour who is disabled or ill, has poor mental health, is frail or has an addiction.

Find out how we support young adult carers.

A child or young person aged 8-19 caring for a family member who has a physical or mental illness, a disability, or a drug or alcohol related problem. The person being cared for may be a parent, sibling or other relative living in the same household.

Find out how we support young carers.

A sandwich carer is someone who cares for both sick, disabled or older relatives and dependent children or children with disabilities.

This type of carer is on the increase due to older people living longer. (27% of carers according to the State of Care Survey 2019)

Frequently, many people take on new caring responsibilities that may impact on work. Currently there are over three million working carers in the UK. It may feel as if you are juggling two jobs when you are holding down a paid job and caring for someone but work can be important for your well-being, income and for maintaining social contacts.

There are things you can do to cope with the pressures of work and caring. As a working carer you may need support at work and perhaps different levels of support at different time. This may include access to a telephone to check on the person you care for, or taking leave to help out when someone is being discharged from hospital.

Carers have some statutory rights and an increasing number of employers are realising the benefits of supporting their staff who are carers. Most working carers have the following rights:

  • The right to request flexible working
  • The right to time off in emergencies
  • The right to parental leave if you have a child
  • The right not to be discriminated against or harassed under the Equality Act
  • Your employment status can affect your entitlement to these rights. If, for example, you are self-employed, on a short-term contract or employed through an agency you may not be covered by these rights. If this applies to you it is important to seek advice.

In addition to your statutory rights, your employer may offer additional support. This will be outlined in your contract and the organisation’s policies (look in your staff handbook if you have one). For example, you may be able to use leave arrangements, paid or unpaid, at the discretion of your employer to cover intensive periods of care.

If you are thinking of giving up work, a career break or sabbatical allows you to keep your options open, ensuring you can go back, and keeping you in touch with the world of work. Some employers offer paid and/or unpaid career breaks, often after a specified period of service with them, so check your organisation’s policies.

Carers MK can provide letters of support for you and also act as an advocate at meetings with your employer.

Additional information for working carers can be found on the Carers UK website.

Carers exist in all communities and although they often face similar issues, carers from the black and minority ethnic (BAME) communities often have additional problems due to cultural or religious differences or difficulties with language.

Contact us on 01908 231703 for further information about support for carers from the black and minority ethnic services for carers.

A former carer is someone whose caring role has come to an end. Former carers may still need some onward support after their caring role has ended.

Find out how we support former carers.

Are you caring for someone?

Do you look after someone who cannot manage without you because they are ill, frail or have a disability? 

If so, you are a carer and Carers MK can help you.