This factsheet explains who an unpaid carer is, how being an unpaid carer can affect you, and the support available in East Lothian.
Download a PDF copy here – Eastspace carers factsheet
Who is an unpaid carer?
An ‘unpaid carer’ is an individual who provides care for another individual and is unpaid for doing so. An ‘adult carer’ is a carer who is at least 18 years of age and is not in school. A ‘young carer’ is a carer who is under 18 years of age or is 18 and still in school.
An unpaid carer can be a relative, partner, friend or neighbour who supports a person needing help because of disability, physical or mental health difficulties, frailty or addiction.
An unpaid carer ensures the needs of that person are met. This can include:
- reassuring them that they are not alone
- purchasing and preparing food on their behalf
- providing transport to medical appointments
- money management
- providing encouragement, supervision, reassurance and emotional support
Issues affecting unpaid carers
Providing any level of care to somebody else can have an impact on an individual’s life. This can include:
- less socialising
- fatigue increased stress
- a reduction in working hours and subsequently a reduction in income
Unpaid carers have the right to make sure their needs are met. For example, a need to have:
- time to relax
- paid employment
- a healthy lifestyle
- a positive social life
- relevant information and support
Adult Carers Support Plans (ACSP)
The Carers (Scotland) Act 2016 (the Act) came into force on the 1 April 2016. The Act extends and enhances the rights of carers in Scotland to help improve their health and wellbeing so that they can continue to care, if they so wish, and have a life alongside caring.
Under the Act, local authorities must offer an Adult Carer Support Plan (ACSP) to anyone who meets the definition of an adult carer. Any carer can request an ACSP, regardless of the age of the person they care for, the number of hours caring, the type of caring role or the regularity of their caring role.
The ACSP will contain a variety of information about the carer’s circumstances and caring role. This includes:
- the nature and extent of the care provided and the impact on the carers wellbeing and day-to-day life
- the extent to which the carer is able and willing to provide care
- emergency and future care planning, including any arrangements that are in place
- what personal outcomes matter to the carer in order to help them carry out your caring responsibilities, to have a life alongside caring, and to improve the carers own health and wellbeing
- support available to the carer if they live in a different local authority from the person they care for
- whether support should be provided as a break from caring
- support available to carers locally
- any support which the responsible local authority intends to provide
- circumstances in which the carers ACSP is to be reviewed
If you do not have an ACSP, you can contact the East Lothian Council’s Social Work Contact Centre to start the process.
Phone Number: 01875 824 309
Carers of East Lothian provides practical advice when needed and/or support for carers who are struggling to cope with the physical and emotional demands of caring for someone.
East Lothian Young Carers provides support for young carers aged between 5 – 24 years old, and their families in East Lothian.
The Carers Trust is a national charity who work to improve support, services and recognition for anyone living with the challenges of caring, unpaid, for a family member or friend who is ill, frail, disabled or has mental health or addiction problems.