First 5 – a checklist for new carers

6 minute read
 

If you have just started to care for someone, we know you will have many things to do and think about.

We also know it can feel overwhelming.

But it’s OK! You are not alone. There are people and organisations ready to help you, and many other carers who have been in your shoes.

Take a deep breath, and take one step at a time. Here are a few key things to think about as you start your carer role. Click on the links to find out more about how to do each step.

1. Have an emergency care plan

When you care for someone, it makes sense to plan for an emergency. An emergency care plan helps you to keep all the information about the person you care for in one place. The plan makes it easy for someone to take over from you in a hurry, and gives you peace of mind. You can download a plan, fill it in and share it with anyone who needs to know.

2. Find out if you can get any payments

We know caring can be expensive. We also know that carers sometimes find it hard to combine paid work and caring. You may be able to get payments to help you meet the costs of caring. You may also be able to get other financial help, such as with health costs or transport.

3. Look into respite care

It’s OK to take a break. In fact, taking a break to rest and recharge will be essential during your time as a carer. ‘Respite’ or ‘respite care’ is when someone else takes care of the person you care for, so that you can take a break. You can arrange respite care for short or long breaks, or in an emergency.

4. Know your legal rights and what powers you might need

As a carer, you have legal rights. You may also need legal powers to make decisions for the person you care for, if they can’t make decisions for themselves. It’s a good idea to find out your options and talk to legal services if you need legal help.

5. Look after yourself

When you start caring, you are focused on the needs of the person you care for. But you shouldn’t forget to care for yourself. We know that caring can be stressful, and it’s important to find ways to manage your stress so that it doesn’t all become too much. You might find it helpful to connect with other carers, get counselling, or use relaxation techniques.