Mary Hellyer is our Carer Services Manager for the north of the county

For many of us the word assessment conjures up very negative images in our mind of taking an examination at school, having someone check up on the quality of our work or making a judgement.  It sometimes feels very scary.

The 2014 Care Act however talks of assessment in a quite different light positively offering family and friend carers the opportunity to have a Carers Assessment in their own right.  Why would anyone want this you may ask as you look after your relative or friend? You care because they need help and you love them!

Often people find that their caring role has crept up on them or has happened very suddenly and unexpectedly, not planned for at all.  Suddenly you find caring has taken over your life, your work time, your leisure time, your time for “you” to be you.  Many family and friend carers describe forgetting about themselves in the busyness.

A carers assessment offers carers the opportunity to stop, to take stock with someone to help you, so you can look at your own needs and how this role that has crept up on you has affected your life.  It looks at your physical, mental and emotional needs and whether you are willing and able to carry on caring.  It is really important to do this so you don’t get so worn down that you struggle to care both due to your exhaustion and your own health and wellbeing deteriorating.  Many carers notice their own health has been affected too.

A carers assessment also offers the opportunity to look at what support is out there that can help you.  You may benefit from a lighter touch wellbeing review to talk through your caring role and discuss your support needs or it may help to have a full carers assessment where your needs can be considered alongside the person you are caring for.  You may be eligible for some additional support or a direct payment to help you cope.

In West Sussex, Carers assessments are carried out by Carers, Support West Sussex who are an independent carers organisation and we offer both lighter touch reviews and full assessments.  Assessment for young carers and parent carers are carried out via WSCC children’s Services.

If you would like to look at your needs and take stock contact our 0300 028 8888 response line number and speak to one of our staff.