Informal carer support

In order for the Prestige Nursing & Care team to offer your loved one a holistic care package, we feel we need to make sure you, as a major family carer, are taking care of yourself too.

We know only too well that emotional bonds often make it difficult for the closest carer in the family to take a step back and consider their own needs. But caring responsibilities can be taxing, stressful and all-consuming. Unless you can give back to yourself, not only will you suffer, but ultimately you may not be able to offer the best of your time to your loved one.

Take a look at some of our tips to help you keep strong in your caring responsibilities. Trust us – enjoying yourself and ensuring you enjoy life is very much a part of that.

Visit our respite care page, to learn how a compassionate Prestige carer can look after your loved one while you enjoy a well-deserved break.


An informal carer, often a family member or friend, is someone who provides unpaid care and support to a loved one who is elderly, chronically ill or living with a disability. These individuals play a crucial role in the well-being of their care recipients, offering both practical assistance and emotional support.

The Family Resources Survey estimated that in 2021/22, around 7% of the UK population (4.9 million people) were providing informal care. While informal carers provide invaluable support to their loved ones, they often face significant challenges and risks that can impact their own health, well-being, and quality of life.

The physical demands of caregiving can take a toll on an informal carer’s health and well-being. Constant lifting, assisting with mobility, and performing household chores can lead to physical strain, muscle fatigue, and injuries.

Caring for a loved one can be emotionally demanding, leading to feelings of stress, anxiety, depression, and burnout. Witnessing the decline of a loved one’s health, managing challenging behaviours or symptoms, and coping with the uncertainty of the caregiving journey can all contribute to emotional strain.

Recognising and addressing these risks is essential to ensure that informal carers receive the support and resources they need to continue their caregiving roles effectively.


Recognising the demanding nature of the informal carer role, it’s crucial for carers to receive adequate support to maintain their own well-being. Here are some ways informal carers can seek support:


Often, carers are left with the mistaken thought that they must be the “strong ones.” Consequently, they tend to shy away from asking for help and support when it is needed. Our experience within the care industry has taught us that working alone leads to disaster. We all need a helping hand and direction.

Take a look below at just some of the ways in which you can gain support and support others in your position:

  • Regular Doctor Visits: Make it a priority to visit your doctor regularly and openly share any concerns you have about the physical, mental, and emotional toll of caregiving. Your healthcare provider can offer valuable advice and resources to help you manage your well-being.
  • Join Support Groups: Consider joining a support group where you can connect with peers with similar experiences. These groups provide a supportive environment where you can freely express your thoughts and emotions while gaining valuable insights and advice from others who have walked a similar path.
  • Seek Community Support: Turn to your faith and community for additional support. Your faith community may offer volunteer caregiving assistance or connect you with resources to lighten your load. Don’t hesitate to reach out to family members, friends, or volunteers from local organisations for assistance and companionship.
  • Maintain Social Connections: Stay connected with friends and loved ones to ensure you receive essential emotional support. Regular communication with your support network can provide a much-needed sense of camaraderie and understanding during challenging times.
  • Educate Yourself: Take the initiative to educate yourself about caregiving and your loved one’s specific needs or illness. The more knowledge you acquire, the better equipped you’ll be to provide effective care and advocate for your loved one’s well-being.


It’s essential to prioritise self-care and prevent carer burnout to ensure you can continue providing quality care to your loved one. Incorporate self-care activities into your daily routine to maintain your physical, mental, and spiritual health:

  • Schedule “Me Time”: Intentionally carve out time in your day for activities that bring you joy and relaxation. Whether it’s pursuing hobbies, enjoying nature, or practising mindfulness, prioritise activities that recharge your batteries and rejuvenate your spirit.
  • Set Boundaries: Establish boundaries to protect your own well-being and prevent caregiver fatigue. Recognise your limitations and don’t hesitate to ask for help or delegate tasks when needed. Remember, prioritising your own health ultimately benefits both you and your loved one.

By proactively seeking support and prioritising self-care, you can cultivate resilience and sustain your carer journey with strength and compassion. Remember, taking care of yourself isn’t selfish—it’s essential for providing the best possible care to your loved one.


A small amount of exercise every day can keep you supple, flexible and toned. This does not have to be trips to the gym or long jogs or runs. Half an hour a day focussing on simple exercises designed to stretch all areas of your body is highly effective. In turn, you will find this will help to give you a spiritual and mental boost, too.

Ensure you get a full quota of sleep. Seven hours is considered to be the amount needed for the average adult. If you have bad sleep patterns, visit your GP for further advice.

Make sure your caring responsibilities do not get in the way of your own nutritional needs. Often, carers find themselves eating on the go, choosing unsubstantial fast foods, or missing out completely. Ensure your body is fuelled with regular, well-balanced meals.


Taking care of your spiritual and mental health is essential for maintaining resilience and vitality as a carer. Here are some strategies to cultivate your inner well-being:

  • Journaling: Embrace the therapeutic power of journaling to process your thoughts and emotions. Writing allows for introspection and serves as a safe outlet for expressing both positive and negative feelings. Sometimes, you can gain clarity and insight by putting pen to paper.
  • Seeking Support: Don’t hesitate to confide in trusted individuals about your struggles and challenges. Sharing your experiences with friends, family, or support groups can provide comfort, validation, and a sense of connection. Remember, you don’t have to navigate this journey alone.
  • Prioritise Personal Pleasures: Make time for activities that bring you joy and fulfilment outside of your caregiving responsibilities. Engage in hobbies, interests, and social activities that nourish your spirit and remind you of your individual identity beyond the role of a carer.
  • Self-Care Rituals: Treat yourself to moments of indulgence and self-pampering to rejuvenate your mind, body, and soul. Whether it’s a relaxing bath, a soothing massage, or a leisurely stroll in nature, prioritise self-care rituals that replenish your energy and foster a sense of well-being.
  • Set Realistic Boundaries: Recognise your limits and honour your needs by setting realistic boundaries around your time and energy. Be mindful of your caregiving responsibilities while also prioritising your own health and happiness. Remember, it’s okay to say no and delegate tasks when necessary.
  • Embrace Humour: Cultivate laughter and levity as powerful antidotes to stress and tension. Seek out opportunities to find humour in everyday situations, whether through funny books, movies, or lighthearted conversations. Laughter boosts your mood and enhances your resilience in the face of adversity.


Community support groups can be invaluable resources for carers, offering both practical assistance and social connections.

  • Finding a Group: Locate support groups through your Citizens Advice Bureau, Carers UK, online searches, social services, or your GP’s office. You’ll be surprised by the number of individuals facing similar challenges.


  • Combat Isolation: Regular meetings provide an opportunity to socialise and prevent feelings of isolation.
  • Shared Experiences: Connect face-to-face with other carers who understand your situation and can offer relevant advice based on their own experiences.
  • Access to Resources: Gain information about local resources and services available to support you and your loved one.
  • New Friendships: Forge meaningful friendships with others in similar circumstances.
  • Convenience: Some groups offer virtual meetings, making support accessible even for those with limited mobility or transportation options.
  • Diverse Perspectives: Benefit from the diverse knowledge and experiences of group members, which is particularly helpful for carers of individuals with unique medical conditions or special care needs.


Respite care is a crucial support system for informal carers by offering them much-needed relief from their caregiving responsibilities. Here’s how respite care can benefit informal carers:

  • Physical and Emotional Rest: Constant caregiving can lead to physical and emotional exhaustion for informal carers. Respite care allows them to take a break, rest, and recharge, reducing the risk of burnout and improving overall well-being.
  • Time for Self-Care: Informal carers often prioritise the needs of their loved ones above their own, neglecting self-care in the process. Respite care allows carers to focus on their own health and well-being, like focusing on hobbies and personal interests.
  • Reduced Stress and Anxiety: Juggling caregiving responsibilities alongside other obligations can create significant stress and anxiety for informal carers. Respite care offers temporary relief from these pressures, allowing carers to alleviate stress and regain a sense of balance and control in their lives.
  • Enhanced Social Connections: Caregiving can be isolating, making informal carers feel disconnected from friends, family, and social activities. Respite care allows carers to socialise, maintain relationships and engage in community events.
  • Improved Relationship Dynamics: Taking breaks through respite care can strengthen the relationship between informal carers and their loved ones. By stepping back temporarily, carers can avoid feelings of resentment or burnout, fostering healthier and more sustainable caregiving dynamics.
  • Overall, respite care is vital in supporting informal carers, allowing them to maintain their own well-being while continuing to provide high-quality care to their loved ones.


When considering respite care for your loved one, open communication is key. Discuss the benefits with them, involving them in the decision-making process to ensure their comfort and understanding.

For over 75 years, Prestige Nursing & Care has been trusted by its clients and their families to provide competent and compassionate respite care at home. Our care is focused on improving health and overall well-being, and all in the place people love most – their own home.

Staying at home with respite care means that your loved ones can continue to live life their way, whilst benefiting from one-to-one care provided by a competent and compassionate carer.