A carer provides unpaid support to someone else who, due to frailty, illness, disability or an additional need, would not be able to manage without their support.
A carer may be looking after a spouse, child, parent, other relative, friend or neighbour.
Some people do not immediately recognise themselves as being carers. The person they are looking after may be a family member and the person may see it as their duty or responsibility to care for them. Many carers simply see themselves as a supportive partner, son, daughter or friend.
Anyone can become a carer; carers come from all walks of life, all cultures and can be of any age. Many feel they are doing what anyone else would in the same situation.
Many carers do not choose to become carers, it just happens and they tend to adapt their life accordingly.
A caring role can happen gradually or very suddenly. It can last for a short time or for many years. You might care for someone for a couple of hours a week or they might need you throughout the day and night.
A carer may be in receipt of Carer’s Allowance or they may not. They may live with the person for whom they are caring or that person may be in a different part of the country or abroad. The person being looked after may live in their own home, with relatives, in supported living or in a care home.