Conditions and diagnosis
If you're looking after someone who has been diagnosed with a long-term health condition or illness, you are likely to face many practical issues. It's important to get information about the condition and how it will affect the person you care for. This will help you to understand any changes they may go through and support them in retaining their independence, confidence and self-esteem.
NHS Choices has information about specific long-term health conditions.
See our page on memory loss and dementia for lots of information and advice.
Register with your GP as a carer
Tell your GP you are a carer, they will be able to offer advice and support.
Your GP practice has a dedicated person who can help you by providing information and advice on:
- any medical conditions including treatments for the person you care for - this may help you feel more confident in your caring role
- services provided by the NHS such as continence services and patient transport to hospital appointments
- advice on other services and welfare benefits
- carrying out home visits to you or the person you care for if it is difficult to attend appointments at the surgery
- arranging appointments for both you and the person you care for at the same time to avoid having to visit the surgery twice
- arranging for repeat prescriptions to be delivered to your local pharmacy to save you picking them up
Your GP will also be aware of your caring responsibilities should you need treatment or hospitalisation.
Free yearly flu vaccination
Carers of people with serious/chronic health conditions or who are frail may also qualify for an annual flu vaccination. Ask your GP for more information.
Equipment and technology
Equipment and technology can provide reassurance for carers and independence for those they look after. From simple aids to sensor systems, there are many products available to help make life easier.
The Carers Trust has free online courses about caring for someone with dementia.
The Recovery Education Centre provide free training courses if you are caring for someone with mental health issues. The courses are mainly held out in the community, so you should not have to travel too far to attend.
Carers support groups
Other carers can provide moral support, advice and expertise. A list of carer support groups can be found in our service provider directory.
Find a carers support group
The Leonardo Trust
The Leonardo Trust is an independent charity to help people in Dorset who care for a sick or disabled relative or friend, full-time, at home. The Trust may be able to help you with:
- funds for a short break
- help in the home including cleaning and gardening
- replacing a broken washing machine or tumble dryer
- funds to help you learn something new
Staying in touch
Computers 4 Carers can provide you with a computer if you are a full-time unpaid carer and can train you how to use it. Having a computer can help you to stay in touch with family and friends, do your shopping online, book doctor's appointments and much more.
Some charities have helplines and online forums that can give you advice and support.
Carers UK- 0808 808 7777
Alzheimer's Society- 0300 222 11 22