At what point does a person call themselves a carer?
When a person begins providing regular or significant support to someone with care needs, they may not necessarily identify themselves as a carer right away.
This can be due to a number of reasons, such as:
- They may feel that they are just doing what any family member or friend would do in the same situation, and don't see their actions as distinct from normal family or social responsibilities.
- They may not be aware of the term "carer" and what it entails, or may associate the term with formal paid care work rather than informal caregiving provided by family and friends.
- They may not want to label themselves as a carer due to stigma or negative connotations associated with the term, or because they feel it would make their relationship with the person they are caring for more formal or distant.
However, as the level of care needed increases and the carer takes on more responsibilities, they may come to recognise that they are providing a significant amount of support and that their role is different from that of a typical family member or friend. This recognition may be prompted by a range of factors, such as:
- The amount of time and effort required to provide care, which can impact the carer's ability to work, study, or engage in social activities.
- The emotional and physical toll of caregiving, which can lead to stress, burnout, or other health issues.
- The need to navigate complex healthcare, social service, or legal systems in order to provide care and access support.
- The lack of recognition or support for informal caregivers in their community or country.
Once a person recognises that they are providing care to someone with care needs, they may choose to label themselves as a carer. This can have a number of benefits, such as:
- Access to information, resources, and support specifically designed for carers, such as respite care, counselling, or financial assistance.
- Recognition of the value and importance of their caregiving role, both by the person they are caring for and by society at large.
- The ability to connect with other carers and share experiences, advice, and support.
It's important to note that the decision to label oneself as a carer is a personal one and may depend on a range of individual, cultural, and contextual factors. Some people may choose to use other terms to describe their role, such as "supporter," "helper," or "caregiver." Ultimately, what matters most is that carers are recognised, supported, and valued for the essential role they play in providing care and support to those in need.
Whether you support someone, help someone or provide care for someone then we're here to support you!