New to caring

What is a carer?

A carer is somebody who provides necessary support or who looks after a family member, partner, friend or a neighbour who needs help because of their age, physical or mental illness, or disability.

The care or support will be unpaid and not part of voluntary work.

The carer may or may not live with the person they look after and might be a long distance carer. The care they provide may be personal care, practical help, emotional support or supervision.

Anyone can become a carer.

About carers

Every year more than two million people in the UK become carers. One in every eight adults in the UK is a carer.

Many people who look after family, friends or relatives, would not recognise themselves as a carer.

You may be taking on a caring role for the first time and don’t know what to expect.

No one likes to be labelled, however, recognising yourself as a 'carer' can be the first step to getting the information, advice and the support that you need.

What is a young carer?

A young carer is a person under 18 who provides care for an adult or a child. The care is unpaid and not part of voluntary work. More information about young carers.

What is a parent carer?

Parent carers are people with parental responsibility for a disabled child under the age of 18, who provide care on a regular basis.

Other pages

Carers' assessments

Information links

Carers Trust

Help, advice, online community

NHS Choices

Guidance, help and support. Carers Direct helpline on 0300 123 1053 

Oxfordshire County Council

Social and health care information

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