Content last reviewed: October 2017


Carers are defined as people who spend a significant proportion of their life providing unpaid support to relatives, partners, friends or neighbours who are ill, frail, disabled or who have mental health or substance misuse problems.  Carers are also parents or guardians of children with a disability, as well as elderly people.

People who provide unpaid care and support to others view themselves as doing what anyone would do for a loved one rather than seeing themselves as carers.  This means there is a real challenge to make carers aware of the information and support that is available to them.

More people born with disabilities and those surviving serious illnesses are living longer.  This, together with an ageing population and longer life expectancies generally, is reflected in the rapidly growing number of people caring for others as well as a growth in the number of hours of unpaid care they provide.

Last updated Monday, 9th October 2017