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Carers

What is a Carer?

Section 1(1) of the Carers (Scotland) Act 2016 defines a carer as an individual who provides or intends to provide care for another individual (the “cared-for-person”). Caring does not have to be regular or substantial. Carers do not have to be related to, or live with, the person they care for. Carers come from all walks of life, all cultures and can be any age, the Health and Social Care Partnership pays great attention to ensuring all the carers in all our communities are recognised and valued for the contribution they make to society at large.

Meaning of carer
You are a 'carer' if you provide (or intend to provide) care for another person – but not:
• if this is only because of that person's age (where they are under 18); or
• if you are caring because you have a contract or as voluntary work

The previous definition for being identified as a 'carer' does not apply. You can be caring for someone for any number of hours. You do not need to be providing a substantial amount of care for someone on a regular basis.

Meaning of young carer
You are a 'young carer' if you are a carer (as above) and are also:
• under the age of 18; or
• 18 or over, but still attending school

Meaning of adult carer
You are an 'adult carer' if you meet the criteria for a carer above and are aged 18 or over, and not attending school.

Kinship carers
A kinship carer (usually a relative or close friend looking after a child in place of their parents) can be a carer under the Act, even where they have a kinship carer agreement with the local authority. This is only for kinship carers who meet the other requirements of the meaning of 'carer' above, so not where the care is simply because of the child's age.

Who do carers support?

There are lots of different circumstances that can lead to a person being supported by a carer, and these may include any one or more of the following:

  • dementia
  • frailty as a result of ageing
  • physical disability
  • learning disability
  • sensory impairment
  • acute episode of illness/disease
  • long term health condition
  • mental ill-health
  • alcohol or drug misuse
  • terminal health conditions such as cancer
  • kinship caring

When the person you care for has a range of complex health conditions it can be very challenging. Providing care and support can be demanding, the variety of unforeseen circumstances can change frequently and dramatically.

We recognise a change in circumstances can have a significant impact on the carer in respect of their own health and wellbeing.

What do carers do?
As a carer you may do things for the person that they are unable to do for themselves such as:

  • Doing the housework
  • Getting things for the person like their medication or slippers
  • Going food shopping or helping when they go shopping
  • Giving them their medication
  • Making a coffee or cup of tea
  • Doing the laundry and ironing
  • Cooking meals
  • Helping out by looking after other members of the family
  • Doing the washing up
  • Going to the bank to pay the bills, sort paperwork or write letters
  • Helping  get them dressed
  • Changing their bandages
  • Chopping up their food
  • Listen, worry or comfort them when they are upset

Here are some examples of carers who live in South Lanarkshire:

  • An elderly lady of 81 who has mobility problems of her own, caring for her terminally ill husband
  • A 25 year old woman with a family providing personal care for her elderly aunt who lives with them
  • A 57 year old man who cares for his mother who has dementia
  • A 12 year old boy looking after a parent with addiction problems
  • A middle aged couple supporting their neighbour to shop and collect his prescriptions