Looking after a family member or friend

If you look after someone who can't manage without your help, due to an illness, disability or mental health problem, you are a carer. Find out what support you can receive.

Check if you're a carer

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

  • food shopping or housework
  • phone calls, for example to their doctor
  • driving them to and from appointments
  • making or giving them their meals and drinks
  • 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. Check below to see what help and support is available.

Emergency help

If you have an emergency and can no longer care for someone, call our emergency helpline

If someone is in immediate danger, call the police on 999.

Get a Carers Leeds Emergency Card

The Carers Leeds Emergency Card is free of charge and is designed to be kept with you at all times, for example in a purse, bag, wallet, phone case or on a key ring.     

In an emergency you can show someone the card so that they will know that someone else relies on you.     

You can apply for a Carers Leeds Emergency Card online or by phoning the Carers Leeds Advice Line on 0113 380 4300.     

Prepare an emergency plan

If you are unable to look after the person that you normally care for due to an illness or emergency, it's important to have an emergency plan in place.

Carers Emergency Plan is a document that includes information about you and the person you care for, as well as the contact details for family or friends who have agreed that they can be contacted to take over caring. The plan should also include important information that will help them or someone else to take over caring in an emergency. You should keep a copy of the plan in a safe place and make sure that you tell anyone who needs to know, where it is kept, for example people who have agreed that they can be contacted to take over caring, care agencies.     

You can write your own plan in any way that you want, however, we have designed a Carers Emergency Plan template that you can use to create your own plan. You can get a copy of the template from Carers Leeds or by phoning the advice line on 0113 380 4300.     

You can also complete a document called The Herbert Protocol external link. This encourages carers to gather useful information that could be used when a vulnerable person goes missing.     

The scheme is run by West Yorkshire Police external link.     

Register your emergency plan with Leeds Telecare

The main benefit of registering your Carers Emergency Plan with Leeds Telecare is that in the event of an emergency, Leeds Telecare will coordinate emergency care.     

Once your plan is registered, Leeds Telecare will send you welcome pack that will include a Carers Emergency Card with a unique reference number, and stickers which can be stuck to the inside of a door or on the fridge to alert emergency services that you are a carer.     

If Leeds Telecare receive an emergency call, they will be able to look up your emergency plan and will aim to have emergency care in place as soon as possible. This will include contacting any family or friends recorded in your plan.     

If this is not possible, Leeds Telecare will contact either the NHS or Adult Social Care services to arrange emergency care.     

Where there is a delay in someone being able to take over caring, Leeds Telecare may be able to send an emergency responder who will be able to check the cared-for person is safe. Details of how to register your plan with Leeds Telecare are included on the plan itself.     

Speak to your doctor

Get priority appointments with your doctor

If you regularly look after someone who couldn't manage without your help, you should tell your doctor. They may be able to offer you a Yellow Card.                               

The Yellow Card will allow you to be identified as a carer whenever you contact your doctor. This means you can get appointment times and services such as health checks and vaccinations to fit around your caring role.                               

With your permission, your GP can also refer you for more support to Carers Leeds.

Looking after yourself

If you care for someone, it's important that you care for yourself too, including your physical and mental health.

If you're struggling with your mental health you can speak to your GP or get advice on staying healthy and well from:

Take a break from caring

If you regularly care for someone and feel like you need a rest or some extra support, you can ask us for a carer's assessment.

This is a chance for you to have a conversation about how your caring responsibilities affect your quality of life. We'll assess your needs and situation and see how we can help to make your life easier.

Other ways we can help you to take a temporary break from caring include:

Help from a paid care worker (respite care)

If you have caring responsibilities and need a break, you can pay for someone to come and help out.

Help through the council

We offer different types of support, depending on your needs. This can include:   

Find the current costs of services from adult social care

To find out more about short breaks, call the adult social care team on 0113 222 4401 (weekdays 9am to 5pm, except Wednesday from 10am).

Help from other local organisations

If you need immediate help, you can also find local organisations on Leeds Directory.                               

Help to pay for a short break

You can get a one off payment of up to £250 to help towards the cost of taking a break or holiday from looking after someone. This is know as the Time for Carers scheme.

The scheme is funded by us and administered by Carers Leeds. To apply for the scheme, call 0113 246 8338.

Installing help alarms in the home

To help give you peace of mind when you're away from the person you care for, an alarm system can be fitted into their home to detect any problems.                               

Find out more about help alarms and safety in the home.

Help with money

If you need urgent help with money you should call our local welfare support team on 0113 868 9808.

If your caring duties are affecting your finances, you may be able to increase your income or reduce your outgoings. You can:

Get support at work

If you're balancing a job while caring for someone, you should talk to your employer to see what support they can offer you. This could include:

  • flexible working
  • taking time off
  • changing your work arrangements

For advice on speaking to your employer and to find out your rights at work, visit Carers UK.

Join support groups

Speaking to other people who are in a similar situation to you and who understand the issues you are facing can be a good way to get advice and support.

Find local groups

Carers Leeds provides up to 30 local support groups each month for carers. This gives you the opportunity to meet other carers like you. For more information, visit Carers Leeds.                               

Caring for someone with dementia

The Dementia Hub at Carers Leeds provides specialist support to people caring for someone with dementia. This includes help over the phone or in person and advice on money and your legal rights.                               

There is also a monthly meet up at the memory cafe for carers and the person they look after. For more information, visit Carers Leeds.       

Support when the person you care for dies

If you're a carer who is experiencing grief or loss, or you are worried about losing someone, you may be able to get help from the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Grief and Loss Support Service.

For free support and advice, call 0808 196 3833 (Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm) or speak to someone through their online chat.       

There is also support for carers who have been bereaved, including one-to-one or group support from the Bereaved Carer Project at Carers Leeds provides support.                               

This gives carers the chance to socialise and build their confidence in getting out and about and enjoying the activities and events in the community.                               

Free online resources

We've teamed up with Carers UK to provide carers in Leeds with free access to a wide range of online advice and resources. This includes:

  • About Me: an online course to help carers find ways to prevent their caring responsibilities from becoming overwhelming
  • Jointly Care coordination app: an app for carers to store information about the person they are caring for, including appointments and medication notes
  • Carers UK guides: lots of essential reading for carers

To access these services, visit Carers UK Digital Resource. You will need to create a new account and use the Free Access Code DGTL8267.

Help for carers under 18 years old

Get support from teachers and your school

If looking after someone means you are missing classes or struggling to do your work on time, you should speak to your teacher so that they can understand your situation and provide support.                               

Speak to your doctor or social worker

If you're caring for someone at home and need more support so that you can focus on school work, you can speak to your doctor, school nurse or social worker. They can organise more help for you at home.

Meet other young carers

Meeting up with other young people who care for someone is a great way of sharing any worries and making new friends.

If you're a young carer in Leeds, you can get help from:

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