Skip to main content

Identifying if you are a carer

Are you a carer?

If you look after someone who can't manage without your help, due to their illness, frailty, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction, you are a carer.

Supporting someone else is sometimes called caring. You might help them with:

  • emotional support and reassurance
  • food shopping or housework
  • phone calls, for example to their doctor
  • making and taking them to appointments
  • making or giving them their meals and drinks
  • helping them to take medication, or making sure they take medication
  • standing, walking or getting out of the house
  • washing, dressing, shaving, managing their toilet needs
  • getting them in or out of bed and making them comfortable

If you help someone with any of these tasks, you could be classed as a carer.

Are you a young carer?

If you look after a relative with a disability, illness, mental health condition or drug or alcohol problem and you are aged under 18 - you are a young carer. 

The information in this section is mainly relevant for unpaid carers who look after another adult. 

We also have information on young carers - children or young people who are carers, often for a parent or sibling.

Are you a parent carer?

There is information on the SEND Information Hub for parent carers - who are also a carer to their child aged 25 or under, who has a disability.

Carers' rights

The 2014 Care Act sets out the responsibilities that local authorities have to carers. This includes the right to a carers' assessment. 

The Care Act 2014 - section 10 - assessment of carer's needs

If you work as well as care for another person, you also have employment rights. This includes the right to request flexible working, and the right to take unpaid time off during emergencies.

More information on employment rights for carers - Carers UK website

The Equality Act states that you cannot be discriminated against due to your association with a person with a disability.

Citizen's Advice Bureau document on how the Equality Act affects carers

The Human Rights Act also affects carers, particularly:

  • The right to respect for private and family life, home and correspondence (Article 8)
  • Freedom from inhuman and degrading treatment (Article 3)
  • The right to be free from discrimination - protected by both the Human Rights Act (Article 14) and Equality Act 2010.
  • In extreme circumstances, your right to life (Article 2).

Carers Trust guide to human rights for carers