Am I a Young Carer?
A young carer is someone under 25 who helps to care for a parent, sister, brother, grandparent or another individual because they have an illness, disability, mental health difficulty or misuse drugs or alcohol.
You may have been providing care or support from a very young age, or have recently found that you have taken on other roles at home.
Some of these things may include:
- Helping someone get dressed, undressed, get washed or move around safely
- Helping with housework, cooking, shopping or other everyday tasks
- Help to keep someone company or provide emotional support
- Help to store and give medications or collect prescriptions
- Help someone to communicate
Why do I need help?
We know with the right support you can balance your caring role with doing all the things that you enjoy.
- You may have found your education life is affected, being late to class, unable to do your homework, or struggling to learn.
- You may also find that you have little time to yourself, to go out with friends and do the things you enjoy or even difficult to make and keep friends.
- You may feel excluded from discussions or decisions about the health of the person you care for which can make supporting them difficult to do, without the correct information.
- You may feel that you don't want to be a carer and that you want to end your caring role.
If this is how you feel, we hope to give you confidence to speak to teaching staff and health and social care professionals so they can help. Unless they are aware of your caring role it is difficult for them to support you.
How we can help
- Take time to talk and listen to you and understand your caring role
- Involve you, with the consent from the person you care for, in the discussions about their care and treatment plan
- Provide information and guidance around handling and giving medication
- Understand you are an expert in the condition of the person you care for and can help us to provide the best care
- Signpost you to other services who can help you
What is a Young Carer Card?
We have listened to you Young or Young Adult Carers who have told us that an ID card would help to:
- Raise awareness of your responsibilities and give formal recognition to your role
- Discreetly let people know about your caring responsibilities without having to repeatedly share personal details
- Give you confidence to ask for help or understanding from professionals like teachers, doctors, nurses and pharmacists
We have done a lot of work with teachers, nurses, doctors and many other professionals to help them understand the challenges you face and how they can best help you.Young Carer Card
How do I get one?
The Young Carers ID card can only be issued by the Young Carers Service in South Tyneside.
It will be issued as part of the Young Carer Assessment.
Depending on your age, this may be done on your own or with the person you care for.
Make sure you give them as much information as you can so they know how best to support you.
Who are the Young Carers Service?
The Young Carers Service is free and confidential, and can help with lots of other things too, such as:
- Someone to talk to
- Somewhere to go to feel safe and supported
- Support to improve education attendance
- Improve emotional and physical health
- A break away from your caring role
- A chance to meet new friends in similar situations
- An opportunity to just be you and have fun
- Reduced isolation
To find out more information, visit the South Tyneside Young Carers Service.
Top tips in education
- Make a member of staff aware that you are a Young Carer. This could be any member of staff you feel comfortable to talk to. They will ensure everyone who needs to be, are made aware.
- Talk about your caring role and responsibilities and how this is having an effect on your education.
- If there are times you may be late or need to leave early speak to your teachers and ask for their support.
- You may need to have access to a phone, whether this is your own mobile or one in your education setting, to make arrangements for this.
- If you are struggling with making friends or feel isolated, talk to a member of staff who may be able to help. There may be groups you can join. The member of staff may also talk to you about a referral to the Young Carers Service in South Tyneside, who run activity sessions, holiday activities, and education drop in sessions and peer support.
Top tips in Health and Social Care settings or during consultations
- Make the Health Care Professional aware that you are a Young Carer when you attend an appointment for either yourself or for the person you care for. This should then be noted on your records and those of the person you care for so everyone who needs to know is aware of your circumstances.
- Ask for appointments outside of school or college hours. Unless you ask you will never know if this is possible.
- If you are with the person you care for at their appointment, make sure they tell the Health Care Professional when it is OK for you to stay in the room. There may be time the person you care for would like some privacy with the Health Professional.
- Make a list of the questions you may want to ask, as it is very easy to forget when there is a lot of important information being discussed.
- If you do not understand the word the Health Care Professional is using speak up! It is important that you are clear to be able to provide the best support to the person you care for.
- If you regularly collect medications, ask the person you care for to inform the pharmacy to note it on their system. You may still need to take ID or your Young Carer Card along with you.
- If you need more information about storing or giving medication safely, don't be afraid to ask. The Health Care Professional may be able to offer alternative solutions.
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