Carers need to put themselves first

As children we are taught to put others before ourselves and we carry this notion into adulthood. I would like to challenge this notion, especially where carers are concerned.

Carers have a constant worry about what would happen to the person they care for, if something happened to them; yet for too many their own health concerns are put on hold, ignored or just not met.

A new Carers Trust survey of older carers reveals more than 80% of carers had at least one health condition, with 66% directly attributing it to their caring role. Astonishingly, over 50% reported 3 or more health conditions.

The survey backs up what we already know about carers, that they put their own health on hold. Over half, 57% of carers, said they had postponed or cancelled their own appointment or treatment due to their caring role.

We can’t ignore carers’ health issues

Carers are all too often going without enough sleep, are unable to take time to exercise and giving up activities and hobbies they enjoyed, contributing further to their poor health.

We cannot afford to ignore the health issues faced by our growing population of carers. More people than ever are caring, and caring for longer and later in life. Carers are vital in supporting the stretched health and social care system. It is therefore imperative their own health is prioritised.Speak up for older carers campaign logo

Putting our self first when it comes to health is not selfish and we should not feel guilty, it is vital especially for those people with a caring role.

Carers Trust is calling for local authorities to use their power and add a question to the free NHS Health Check, asking if people have a caring role.

This will help identify carers early, ensuring they get the advice and support they need to look after their health long term.

To take part in the action and find out more, see our Speak up for older carers campaign.

Blog by Louise Marks, Dementia Policy and Development Officer at Carers Trust

December 6, 2016 - Posted by | Health, Isolation, Older carers


  1. I totally agree with this campaign however what about us younger carers, we too put our own heath at risk give up work exercise and hobbies to do our caring roles. Either for disabled children or older family members, this should be speak up for all carers, older carers now have new legislation to protect them, but parents of disabled children do not I no they should be considered but there isn’t an act that says parent carer of under 18 is legal intitled to support for themselves

    Comment by swanarchie07 | December 6, 2016 | Reply

  2. Hi thanks for responding to the blog, all carers are important and as you say all are vulnerable to poor health, Carers Trust wanted to do some awareness raising of much older carers as they like younger carers often do not recognise themselves and are not identified by professionals. We felt it was important as there is a growing number of older carers in society as people live longer so carers get older.

    There is some important legislation to support younger carers and parent carers please see below and let us know if you need any more info

    Parent carers and young carers are entitled to an assessment from the local authority under both the Care Act and the Children and Families Act.

    Parent Carers are entitled to a Parent Carers Needs Assessment under the Children and Families Act. The assessment will consider the wellbeing of the parent carers; and the need to promote the welfare of the disabled child.

    Also when a disabled child is approaching their 18th birthday, the carer is entitled to a new needs assessment. This will not only help the local council understand the child’s needs but also entitle the carer to the support outlined in the Care Act.

    Young carers are entitled to Young Carers Needs Assessment under the Children and Families Act. All young carers under the age of 18 have a right to an assessment of their need – no matter who they care, what type of care they provide or how often they provide it.

    Also, well before a young carer approaches their 18th birthday, the Care Act requires local councils to carry out a transition assessment – this is called a young carers assessment. This assessment helps identify services that may be required during the transition to adulthood.

    However, the important thing is to get an assessment. Don’t worry too much about which Act entitles you to one, all carers are now entitled to an assessment. So ask your council abut and assessment and they will carry one out. Carers Trust Online Support Team or your local carers service can help you find out more

    Comment by Louise marks | December 15, 2016 | Reply

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