Identifying as an unpaid carer for the person you love takes time. In fact, for most people, it can take over a year of providing unpaid caring duties before identifying themselves as a carer for their loved ones.

Every one of us will likely have caring responsibilities at some time in our lives with the challenges taking many forms. Many carers juggle their caring responsibilities with work, study and other commitments. Younger carers are particularly not known to be carers. This can be because they do not tell relatives, friends or health and care professionals about their responsibilities because of a fear of separation, guilt, pride or other reasons. 

I was just doing what anyone else would do in my shoes

We found that for the majority of the public, the word carer referred more to 'a paid care worker' rather than to someone who provides vital unpaid support for someone they love.

By definition, a carer is anyone who cares, unpaid, for a friend or family member who due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction cannot cope without their support. 

Caring for someone can take up a few hours each week, or a carer may be caring for 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Some carers live with, or near to, the person they are caring for, whereas others provide more remote support. Some look after more than one person. Every caring role is different.

The variety of tasks that a carer fulfils is diverse and can commonly include:

  • Practical household tasks such as shopping, cooking, cleaning, gardening and financial management
  • Personal care such as bathing, dressing, lifting, administering medication and collecting prescriptions
  • Emotional support such as listening, offering advice and friendship 
  • Companionship such as supporting someone to get out in the community for shopping or appointments

Although the distinction is often made between a full-time or part-time carer, there is not a minimum time requirement or age restriction that “qualifies” someone as being more or less of a carer.

If anything you have read has led you to believe that you are an unpaid carer for someone who lives in Gateshead. Please register as a carer with us and discover what opportunities are available for you.

If you think that you are an unpaid carer for someone living outside of Gateshead, please use this tool by Carer's Trust to find your local carer centre.