Many people spend time providing unpaid care. This could be for a family member or friend who would be unable to cope without them. These people are referred to as unpaid or informal carers. They see themselves as just being a husband, wife, mum, dad, son, daughter, friend or just a good neighbour.
For some people, taking on a caring role can be sudden and unexpected. However, providing care can also grow gradually over time. Being a carer can provoke a complex mix of emotions and can be both rewarding and frustrating. It can also be costly in terms of life chances, financial security and health and mental wellbeing.
Carers play a vital role in the health and social care system. You can find information below for adult and young carers, as well as about a carer's assessment and support groups.
Unpaid carers, or informal carers, are those who care for a family member, friend or neighbour. The amount and type of support these carers provide can vary considerably.
Young people under 18 who look after someone in their family who has an illness, disability or mental ill-health, taking on tasks that would normally be done by an adult.
Local and national support groups and organisations who can support you in your role as a carer.