Help for someone else


Help for someone else

  • I’m worried about a relative or a friend.
  • Someone isn’t coping so well, but they think they are OK.
  • Mum is getting some services but I think she still needs more support.
  • I’m going to be away for a while. Who will look after the person I care for while I’m away?
  • It feels like a crisis. Where do I start?

Many people find that it gets harder to manage.

  • Sometimes it happens gradually. For other people it happens when there is a change in their circumstances, such as when they have been unwell or after bereavement.
  • There are some aspects of day-to-day living that can become more of a struggle, like shopping and cooking, or cleaning where we have to reach or lift things, or spending time with people.
  • Sometimes it’s because we find it harder to concentrate and remember what needs done as much as actually doing it.
  • List out what it is you are worried about before you talk to the person. Try to be specific and give examples of when something happened (or got missed) and why you were worried.
  • Contact someone such as the social work team or their GP if this is something serious or urgent. There are contacts for the area the person lives in at the Local Help pages.
  • Plan how and when you can talk to the person if it is not so urgent.
  • Think about what is going to keep the person safe and well and reassure you and other people who care about the person. Make a list of all the things that could help. There are suggestion on this website of ways to do this.
  • You also want to make your own life as stress-free as possible, at least for the next while so think about things that can help you have more time and energy to focus on helping the person you care about.
  • Try starting with help with one or two things if you have a long list. Often people find that reducing one problem makes it easier to deal with the others.
  • Keep out emergency phone numbers, so you’ll have them ready in case you ever need them. Include your friends and  people such as the other person’s friends and neighbours. Also include contacts like the plumber. Your list could also include the number for the health care services as well as for things like help at home. It’s whatever makes sense for you.

Over the Fence is based on the experience of other people who’ve been in a similar situation to you. It has their suggestions on what can make things better or easier for the person you care about and for you. We’ve tracked down all the sources of additional information which helped them.

The Overview has the basic information and our tips to help you get started.

We have more detailed notes on some aspects of looking for support in the In Detail section. These are the points where you might want to know more. You can read the ones that relate to your situation now or come back later.

There are Stories from other people in similar circumstances.

The Local Help  will take you to the main contacts for the local Council area where your relative or friend lives, such as the Social Work Team if you want to find out about getting care services for the person or places where they can get face-to-face advice.

You can also use the Local Help to find contacts in your area which can help you, such as the Carers’ Centres.



  • Both you and the person you care about matter.
  • They are entitled to have the support they need to enable them to have a good life.
  • You are entitled to get the support you need and to be reassured that they are OK.
  • There are lots of people who care about what happens to both of you and want things to go well for you.



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