End of life & carers

End of life & carers

A carer is someone who provides unpaid help to a person who depends on them due to frailty, mental or physical health problems, illness or drug/alcohol misuse. They may not live in the same house and do not have to be related to the person they care for. The amount and type of care that carers provide varies considerably.

Key messages

The geographical isolation of many people in Northumberland increases this risk, and rural carers are not only less likely to recognise themselves as carers and exercise their rights, but they also experience greater difficulty in getting the help they need.

Caring is still predominantly a role carried out by women. The 2001 Census showed that 42% of carers are male and 58% of carers are female.

It was also suggested that fewer male carers may seek support.

A number of different groups of carers require support and there is no single group, or stereotypical relationship. For example:
  • people providing support to someone with an enduring mental health problem often fail to recognise their eligibility for support, as the care does not always involve practical help
  • young carers (under 18), are often not recognised by professionals as having a substantial caring role and can be extremely isolated
  • black and ethnic minority carers tend to be hidden, largely due to assumptions made with regards to the closeness of facilities and role of women
Combinations of disadvantage, including caring responsibilities, often lead to a cycle of worklessness and ill health. For example, a person who becomes a carer while still a child, is more likely to be economically inactive and still a carer as a young adult.

Many carers juggle work with caring and view their work as a vital part of their lives. People, who give up work to care, face an immediate reduction income, as well as the loss of companionship at work. This may lead to social exclusion.

Carers’ health is an issue, as carers are more likely than others to suffer from health problems. Caring can be physically, emotionally and mentally demanding and helping to keep carers healthy is crucial, if they are to continue in this essential role.
Statistics on this topic on the people and disabilities page.

Key documents

More information about carers can be found on the Council's carers’ webpage here.

Guidance on working with carers