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Looking after someone with a learning disability

Looking after yourself

Providing care for someone with a learning disability can be very demanding and it is important to ensure that you make time to look after your own health and emotional needs. Carers may have to deal with anything from personal hygiene to challenging behaviour, therefore it is helpful to know what support you can get as carer. As a carer you can also ask Richmond Adult Social Care for a carer’s assessment. This is simply a conversation with you that will help us understand the impact that caring is having on your life and support you may need. More information on carers and self-assessment.

As a carer it is important to get a rest from your caring role and take time for yourself. Short breaks give carers the chance to take a break from their caring responsibilities and to do something different that they enjoy. You can visit our Careplace directory to find local activities and groups.

The Richmond Community Independent Living Service (CILS) supports local people to improve wellbeing and to stay connected with their local communities.

Carer’s Emergency Card Scheme

The Carer’s Emergency Card Scheme is a way of making sure there is emergency cover in place in case something happens to you unexpectedly. It will give you peace of mind to know there is back-up if something happens to you and gives you access to an emergency helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Find more information on the Emergency Card.

Getting peer support

Speaking to people who are facing similar challenges to you can help you make sense of things. Having a network of people who you can turn to for advice and support can be very helpful. Richmond Carers Centre provides information, advice and support for carers aged over 18 and arranges several workshops specifically for carers on anything from First Aid and using your mobile phone with confidence to mindfulness and aromatherapy.

Mencap also have an online community called the Family Hub. Members connect with others caring for someone with a learning disability to offer and receive support, share tips, triumphs, information and challenges.

Mencap have information and advice pages for carers of someone with profound and multiple learning disability (PMLD) that offer practical advice and tips.

Employment and support

The person you care for may wish to find work. Choice Support supports people with autism, learning disabilities, mental health needs, physical disabilities and sensory impairments to gain and keep paid employment.

The Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities has produced a guide for carers with a learning disability. The guide is called Thinking Ahead: supporting families to plan for the future and has information about legislation, emergency planning and when the person you care for wishes to moves away from home and be independent.

Hospital Stay

Going into hospital can be a worrying time for anyone, but it can be particularly worrying and stressful for someone with a learning disability and the carer. The NHS website has help tips on how to prepare yourself and the person you care for the hospital.

Planning for the future – mutual caring

You may find that the person you care for, who has a learning disability, may start caring for you in return as you get older. This is known as mutual caring, and sometimes it is difficult to see when this is happening and to get the right support. The Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities has produced Supporting Mutual Caring guide that explains mutual caring in more detail, the challenge of mutual caring and getting support right for you and your family.

Further information and support

Updated: 18 June 2024

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