Date Revised:

It is important that you take care of your own health, even if you are busy looking after someone else's health. 

Being healthy is not only important for you, but it also helps the person you care after too.

Stay well this winter

Winter can be seriously bad for our health but there a number of things you can do to keep you and your family well this winter. Visit get ready for winter on NHS Choices for helpful tips and advice. 

Coping with the festive season

Bad weather, indulging in too much food or alcohol, and family pressures can increase your stress levels and cause conflict over the festive period. You might also worry more about money as you are expected to pay for presents and shoulder any additional household expenses. 

As a carer you may experience extra stress at this time of year. Perhaps you worry about how the person you care for will cope with a change in routine. Or you might have to put more effort into protecting the person you care for from the cold or bad weather.

Top tip: If you are going to spend time with family and friends it could be a great chance for them to give you a hand and to see what sort of caring you do.  Could they spend time with the person you care for whilst you take a short break? Or could they help with tasks around the home, like cooking Christmas dinner? Even if you aren’t seeing many people perhaps you could call or email them instead to keep in touch. 

Have a look at coping with the stresses of caring. This is part of our relationship guide for carers.

Older carer's survey

Our recent Carers Trust older carer’s survey shows that of the 422 carers that responded:

  • 86% had health problems of their own,
  • 67% said their health condition was as a direct result of their caring role,
  • 57% had cancelled or postponed their own doctor’s or hospital appointments, and
  • 81% said they felt lonely and isolated and 83% said their loneliness and isolation was having a negative impact on their health.

You can email your local health service to ask them to add a question to the free NHS Health Check which would ask if someone has a caring role. The aim is to increase identification of carers and ensure carers get appropriate support for their own health early on, reducing the risk of their own health deteriorating.

Online support for carers

You can get 24-hour support, every day of the year, from our online services for carers. Carers Trust online services are open to all carers, wherever you live in the UK and whatever your age.

  • Support from Babble for young carers under 18
  • Support from Matter for young adult carers aged 16–25
  • Support from Carers Space for carers aged 18 and over

More ways to take care of yourself

  • Find out about getting a break, including respite care. 
  • Check if you, or the person you care for, can claim benefits.  
  • have a carer's assessment so you can discuss your needs with your local council. The assessment is free and your local council will use it to decide what support to give you.
  • Contact your local carer services to see how they can help to take care of your own health. Find local care and carer services.
  • Make sure you let your GP know that you are a carer as they will record this on your notes and may be able to offer you extra support. Also see 10 top tips to get the most out of your GP appointment from Healthwatch.
  • Enroll to take the Caring with Confidence online courses.  They can help make a positive difference to your life, and that of the person you care for, by developing skills and knowledge for your caring role.

Find your local carer services to see what support there is in your area for carers.