Becoming a carer

A brain injury changes lives for the person with the injury, their family and their friends.  You may now have a caring role and becoming a carer can have a significant impact on your lifestyle and relationships.  However, many changes can be positive.  For example, many families become closer as a result of helping each other through the difficult times.  

It is common for family members and those who are close to the person with the brain injury to have problems adjusting to the new situation.  Everyone will have a different response and there is no right or wrong way to feel in these circumstances. It is advisable to seek as much help and support as possible and you may find it helpful to talk things through with someone outside the situation, such as a counsellor.  

There are many organisations and services within the NHS, local authority and charity sector which can be of great assistance to you.  Your GP should be able to provide you with information on local services and the Headway helpline can provide support, information and signposting.  There is also a full list of useful organisations and sources of support at the back of this resource.  

You should carefully consider the extent to which you can provide care and shouldn’t feel that you have to do everything yourself.  Talk to social services and involve others, such as professionals, friends and family.  Sharing the responsibility may be better for you and your relative in the long term.

Questions to ask when becoming a carer

  • What rights do I have a carer?
  • How do I arrange a Carer’s assessment to identify what help I need?
  • What support am I entitled to from social services?
  • Is there any support available for my children?
  • Our employers are not helpful – what support can I get?
  • What benefits are we entitled to and how do I go about claiming these?

Things to do when becoming a carer

  • Set aside time for yourself,  keep up social contacts and do things you enjoy
  • Eat healthily and try to find time for exercise
  • Try to involve friends and family in helping with your relative’s care
  • Find out what support services are available locally
  • Contact social services
  • Contact your local Headway Group
  • Contact the Headway helpline
  • Contact your local Carers Team.