When you begin caring for someone, unpaid, it might be hard to know where to start. It can be a rewarding experience, but when you're coping day to day and responding to the needs of others it can be difficult.
There are organisations that offer support in the areas that affect your life the most. You can also find out more about what to do when you become a carer.
Meeting with care professionals
If you need help caring for someone else, you're likely to meet health and social care professionals. If you find it difficult to get your point across, you can bring a family member, friend or advocate to meetings.
Prepare as much as you can before meeting with health and social care professionals. This will help you get the most out of meetings.
Carers Scotland's self-advocacy toolkit has information and techniques to help carers who want to speak – or advocate – for themselves.
The Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance offers independent advocacy support to any vulnerable person in Scotland. Call 0131 556 6443.
Carer centres are independent charities, normally funded by the local council to offer practical support, advice and information for you as carer in your local area – either by phone, online drop-in or outreach surgeries.
Training for carers
Many carer centres offer training, as well as information and advice about training available elsewhere for carers.
You may want to learn more about moving and handling, first aid or improving your own health and wellbeing.
Third sector organisations like Maggie's Centres offer training about the specific illness or condition of the person you're looking after.
Looking after your health
Caring for someone who is unwell can take its toll on your physical and mental health. However, if you're not fit, you won't be able to care for others as easily.
The National Wellbeing Hub offers wide range of support and wellbeing resources available in Scotland. It includes a specific section for unpaid carers.
Breathing Space is a confidential phone line (run by NHS 24) for anyone in Scotland over the age of 16, feeling low, anxious or depressed.
All unpaid carers in Scotland are eligible for a free flu jab. Find further information on NHS inform.
Being a carer can put pressure on relationships with partners, children, other family members and friends. You may feel like you're juggling your time and trying to keep others happy. You might have feelings of guilt and resentment about your role.
Carers Scotland offer advice on maintaining relationships as a carer.
Carer centres offer practical support, advice and care information for you in your local area – either by phone, online drop-in or outreach surgeries.
There are many other organisations that offer advice and support if you're a carer or a person using self-directed care.
0808 808 7777
Gives expert advice, information and support to carers.
Carers Trust Scotland Aims to improve support, services and recognition for anyone caring, unpaid, for a family member or friend.
Coalition of Carers in Scotland Ensures that carers' voices are heard at local and national level.
MECOPP Supports Black and Minority Ethnic carers to access support and services suitable for their personal situations.
Young Scot Offers lots of information for young carers, including how to apply for the Young Carers Package, a range of leisure and learning opportunities for young carers.
0800 12 44 222
Provides information, friendship and advice and a confidential freephone for older people, their carers and families in Scotland.
Shared Care Scotland
0138 362 2462
Works to improve the quality and provision of short breaks for carers in Scotland.
Take a Break Family Fund's Take a Break Fund supports families and carers of disabled children and young people to take a short break.
National Wellbeing Hub Offers a wide range of support and wellbeing resources for unpaid carers.
0800 83 85 87
Monday to Thursday, 6pm to 2am
Friday 6pm to Monday 6am
Offers individual support and advice if you need someone to talk to.
Care Information Scotland
0845 600 1001, 8am to 10pm
Provides information about care services for people living in Scotland.
Call free on 111
Scotland's national telehealth and telecare organisation.
0800 22 44 88, 8am to 10pm
Provides quality-assured health information.
0333 344 7990
Find a counsellor or support service near you.
There is a problem
Thanks for your feedback