Young Adult Carers Aged 18 to 25 Years
In the UK there are approx 700,000 Young Carers under 18 and 370,000 who are between 18 and 25. It's likely there are children and young people who care in every school, college and university. So you're not on your own.
Most Young Adult Carers look after a parent, brother, sister, grandparent or a boyfriend or girlfriend. But it could be someone else close to you.
The person you support could be ill, disabled or have a mental health condition or addiction. You may have to help and deal with a variety of things including a mixture of:
- Personal help - helping someone wash, dress, go to toilet, eat, move around or take medication
- Practial help - cooking, cleaning, shopping, managing finances, banking
- Emotional help - calming someone down, comforting them, checking they are safe.
You may be a Young Adult Carer who's been caring for a family member since you were young and it's normal to you. Or you may have just become a carer and are trying to deal with the adjustment.
If you're a Young Adult Carer your caring role can have a big impact on your life and may make it hard for you to do the things you want to do, now and in the future.
It can affect your social life, self confidence and even your health. You may also find it difficult to manage your education or job. The stress of these things on top of caring can cause mental health problems. The Carers Trust reported that 45% of Young Adult Carers they surveyed suffered with their mental health.
If you're a Young Adult Carer and you're struggling with any of these things then there is help, advice and support available.
Where to go for help
But you may also be able to get support from the Derbyshire Young Adult Carer Support service (see below).
If you're struggling with your own mental or physical health you should speak to your doctor. It's important to tell your doctor about your caring role so they have a clear picture of your lifestyle and can judge any effect it has on your health and wellbeing.
Speaking to professionals
Speaking to health and social care professionals can be daunting. If you're worried it's a good idea to plan what you want to say before you contact them. Derbyshire Healthcare Foundation Trust have developed a prompt card called 'SBARD' to help you do this.
Derbyshire Carers Association (DCA) provide the Derbyshire Young Adult Carers Support service for carers who are aged 16 to 25.
Some young adults who use the service have previously used DCA's Young Carers Service (under 18s) and wanted to continue using the service after turning 18 rather than using adult services.
But the service may be able to help if your aged 18 - 25 and you've just become a carer or are only now looking for support.
To be eligible for the service you must be:
- undertaking caring tasks that are over and above what would be expected for your age, and
- experiencing a negative impact on your life because of your caring role.
The service offers support with a particular focus on helping you with your education (school, college or uni), training or getting a job. They can also help you with your future aspirations and career / work plans.
They may be able to offer support if your caring role means you feel isolated or lonely.
If you are over 18 you are entitled to a Carers Assessment of your needs. The assessment will help to identify the help and support you need as a carer and the things that could make your caring role easier for you. In Derbyshire, Carers Assessments are carried out by Derbyshire Carers Association (DCA) on behalf of Derbyshire County Council. You can get in touch with DCA to ask for an assessment. Tel: 01773 833833
If you had an assessment by the Council or DCA as Young Carer (under 18) you can ask to be reassessed by DCA as an adult.
Carer Personal Budget
Carers over 18 may be able to get a Carer Personal Budget to help pay for a break from caring or something to make your life easier. You have to have a Carers Assessment before you can get a Personal Budget.
It may be that the thing that would help you most is for someone else (such as a paid carer) to help provide care so you don't have to do so much. The person you care for is entitled to an assessment of their social care needs, or a re-assessment if they haven't already had one recently or if things have changed.
There are different types of support they may be able to get, such as paid carers to come and help at home, going to a day centre or a stay in a care home. You can find out more on the Derbyshire County Council website.
You can also pay for a care service privately if you the person you look after can afford it. You can find local care services using the Derbyshire Care Directory.
Getting a break from caring
If you are entitled to a carer personal budget (see 'your rights as a carer' section above) you can use this to help pay for a break from your caring role.
If the person you look after has an assessment and is entitled to support from Derbyshire County Council, services to give you a break may be part of their care plan.
The taking a break from caring section of this website has more information.
Many carers both young and older struggle with money problems.
Carers over 18 may be entitled to claim Carers Allowance or other benefits for carers. However, it's always a good idea to speak to the Derbyshire Welfare Rights Service before claiming any benefits. They'll also be able to check the person you look after is claiming everything they are entitled to. You can ring them on tel: 01629 531535 between 11am and 4:30pm, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday or Friday.
If you or the person you look after are struggling with debt it's really important to get advice possible. The Derbyshire County Council website has details of trusted local services who can help you including Citizens Advice.
Having no money
If and the person you look after find yourself in a crisis or emergency situation where you've got no money to buy food, gas or electric you may be able to get support from the Derbyshire Discretionary Fund. They may also be able to help you if you need things like a new cooker or rent up front to move into a new property.
You may also be able to use Derbyshire Food Banks if you have no food and no money to buy any.
It's thought there are 3 million carers in the UK who juggle their caring role with working.
But what a lot of carers who work don't realise is that they've got employment rights that they may be able to use to help them manage caring and working. These include:
- the right to request flexible working
- the right to time off in emergencies
- protection from discrimination.
Your employer might have their own policies that offer extra support for staff so check your contract or staff handbook.
You can find out more on the main employment rights page.
Carers UK also have some great information on employment rights for carers, including advice on making a flexible working request.
If you are being supported by the Derbyshire Young Carers Service, they can support you to understand your rights and help you approach your employer.
One of the most worrying thing for carers of any age is what would happen in an emergency situtaion.
This could be an emergency that meant you were unable to provide care, for instance if you had an accident or fell ill. Or it could be the person you look after having a crisis or their health deteriorating.
Emergency planning - if you are unable to provide care
The Carers Emergency Card scheme allows you to give information and make a plan about what you would like to happen to the person you look after if you were unable to provide care. This could be nominating family or friends who could help and giving important details about the person's condition and needs. These details are then held on Derbyshire County Council's database and, in an emergency, can be accessed by the emergency services or social care professionals who are supporting the person you look after in your absence.
It's a good idea to speak to family and friends, or any social workers supporting the person you look after about emergency plans so everyone is on the same page. You can read our blog about making a good emergency plan for tips on what to think about.
It's also important to let your GP surgery know that you're a carer, and who you care for, so they know that person would need support if you were suddenly unable to care as you normally would. It's also important to let your GP know so they can support you and make sure your own health and wellbeing are not being neglected due to the stresses of caring.
Emergency planning - if the person you care for has a crisis or their health declines
It's always a good idea to make sure you have a list of important phone numbers and contacts ready in a safe place for if you ever need them. This could be the person you care for's doctor, mental health crisis team or social worker.
We've got more information and advice about this on the emergency planning page, including legal agreements so you can make decisions on behalf of the person you care for and emergency schemes you can use to make sure you're prepared. You can also see the need advice or urgent help page.