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Looking after your own health and wellbeing

Older woman swimming in a leisure centre pool

Caring for someone can take its toll on your own mental and physical health. If possible, try to take time out from caring to do things for yourself.

Perhaps someone else could take over from you regularly or temporarily, a support group of other carers would help or some short-term residential care for the person you look after could give you a break?

You can find what support services are available in your area in the  Getting out and about section.

Protect yourself against COVID-19 and flu

The COVID-19 autumn booster and flu vaccine programmes have now begun and carers are strongly encouraged to have both vaccines to help protect the person they are caring for.  You are eligible for both vaccines if you are:

- aged 16 and over who receives a carer's allowance OR

- the main carer of an elderly or disabled person who is at increased risk from flu or COVID-19.

This includes people who provide unpaid care, such as a family member, close friend or neighbour.

How do I get my vaccinations?

If you are a carer who is known to your GP and who already has a 'carer's flat' on your primary care record, you will receive an invitation to book both your COVID-19 booster and flu vaccines.

Carers can also self-declare and book their COVID-19 booster vaccination via the National Booking Service, or by calling 119, or by finding a walk-in appointment through the online vaccination walk-in finder.  Your GP or local pharmacy can also provide you with further information about how to access the flu vaccine.

There is no requirement to provide proof that you are a carer when attendimg vaccination appointments.

Further sources of information

Help to reduce the strain of coping with your caring role

The Carers Health Team is a team of health professionals whose purpose is to promote the health and wellbeing of carers. They will work directly with you to help reduce any strain in your caring role.

The Sussex Community NHS Trust provide this free service to support carers over the age of 18 registered with a West Sussex GP.

Phone: 01243 623521
Email: SC-TR.carerwellbeing@nhs.net


Short break provision for carers

It is important that carers take time to look after their own health and wellbeing. There are a variety of carer services to support you to have some time to yourself. 

You can find more information from the Carers Support West Sussex  'Relaxation and Respite' webpage.

Due to COVID-19, it is best to use the contact information given by your local providers and talk to them directly. They can tell you more about about respite, short breaks and other services they offer.

Fill in a carer's self-assessment

As a carer you are entitled to an assessment of your needs, separate from the person you care for. You do not need to be living with the person you care for to receive this assessment.  You can complete a carers self-assessment form online to help you to think about the things that are working well for you,  and to help you identify areas that can be improved.

If you are thinking of asking for a carer’s assessment, you may find it useful to fill in a carer’s self-assessment first. You don’t have to complete a self-assessment before contacting West Sussex County Council, but it can help you think about your situation.

To find out more about carers’ self-assessments, go to the carers self-assessment page.

Support for voluntary or paid employment

If you are a family or friend carer and would like to explore voluntary or paid employment options that can be flexible around your caring commitments, or need some advice about your current employment, Supported Employment West Sussex (SEWS) are here to help provide impartial advice and support. Even if you just need some one-off advice about your situation, their friendly team of employment specialists are on hand to help. SEWS is a partnership between Aldingbourne Trust WorkAid, and Impact Workability. 

For more information use the points of contact below:

Impact Workability

Phone: 01903 730044

Email: workability@impact-initiatives.org.uk

Website: supportedemploymentwestsussex.org

Support can be provided 1:1, over the phone, online or face-to-face.

Last updated: 11 October 2022

Websites you may be interested in

Carers Support West Sussex

for family and friend carers



If you are caring for a older parent and are struggling to cope, age space may provide some support.


Local Offer

Services, information and events for children and young people with additional needs and disabilities and their families.


West Sussex Parent Carer Forum

Offer help to parent carers of children and young people aged 0-25 with additional needs and disabilities.