Caring for someone with dementia can be exhausting and overwhelming – physically, emotionally and financially. But support is available. Registering as a carer with your GP is one way to access this support.
If you register as a carer with your GP, it will enable them to support you in your caring role. What is offered varies between practices, but it often includes:
- free annual health checks
- the annual flu jab and Covid-19 boosters as advised
- access to a ‘Carer’s Champion’ who can support you in your caring role
- support with your physical and mental health to enable you to carry out your caring responsibilities
- general information and advice about being a carer
- signposting to other services that could help, such as support groups, day centres and respite care for the person you look after
- flexibility with booking doctor’s appointments for you and the person you care for – for example, if both you and the person with dementia need to see the GP, booking appointments back-to-back so you do not have to visit the surgery twice
- help with prescriptions, such as having them delivered to your home
- a referral to your local council to see if you qualify for a ‘carer’s break payment’, allowing you to take some time out if your caring role is affecting your health
- help with care planning for the person with dementia
- support with applying for assessments and benefits such as the carer’s assessment, Carer’s Allowance and Blue Badge parking
All GP practices have a carers’ register – a list of patients who are providing unpaid care to someone with a long-term health condition. You can speak to the receptionist or practice manager to request a registration form.
Alternatively, Carers UK has produced a template letter that you can complete and send to your GP.
Once you have told your GP that you are a carer, they can add this information to your patient record and help you to start getting the support you need.
Some GP practices have a separate register for young carers, so if a child or teenager under the age of 18 is helping to care for a person with dementia, it is a good idea to ask if this is available.
To speak to a dementia specialist Admiral Nurse about registering as a carer with your GP or any other aspect of dementia, please call our free Dementia Helpline on 0800 888 6678 (Monday-Friday 9am-9pm; Saturday and Sunday 9am-5pm), email firstname.lastname@example.org or you can book a phone or video call appointment with an Admiral Nurse.
Dementia UK resources
- Carer’s assessments
- Caring from a distance
- Financial and legal sources of support
- Finding help and support at home
- Getting the best out of a remote consultation
- Getting the best out of GP and other health appointments
- Looking after yourself as a carer
- Online GP services