Support for carers

Last updated: 10 July 2019

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 effect 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.

Carers' centres

Carers' centres are independent charities that offer practical support, advice and information for you as carer in your local area – either by phone, drop-in or outreach surgeries.

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.

Carers Scotland provides information on how to make sure you're looking after your health as a carer.

Their website gives advice on:

  • sleep
  • breaks from care
  • caring for your back
  • stress and depression
  • flu jabs

Maintaining relationships

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.


Looking after someone can be a big part of your life. Your caring role will change over time and can end for a variety of reasons. However your caring role ends, it can mean a period of uncertainty and mixed feelings.

Support and advice for dealing with a death is available if you need it.

Support organisations

Carers' centres offer practical support, advice and care information for you in your local area – either by phone, 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.

Carers Scotland
0808 808 7777
Gives expert advice, information and support to carers.

Carers Trust
0300 123 2008
Aims to improve support, services and recognition for anyone living with the challenges of caring, unpaid, for a family member or friend.

Young Carers
Supports people under 18 who are caring for someone.

Age Scotland
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
01383 622462
Works to improve the quality and provision of short breaks for carers in Scotland.

Breathing Space
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
08456 001 001, 8am to 10pm
Provides information about care services for people living in Scotland.

NHS 24
Call free on 111
Scotland's national telehealth and telecare organisation.

NHS inform
0800 22 44 88, 8am to 10pm
Provides quality-assured health information.

Counselling Directory
0333 3447 990
Find a counsellor or support service near you.