What Does Being a Young Carer Mean?

Being a young carer can mean different things to different people. Perhaps you might support a relative or a friend from time to time or be responsible for providing care for a parent or guardian for most of every week.  

It’s important to know that if you are providing care, support is available.

Read on to find out more about who might be a young carer and why it’s important to know, so you can access the right support. 

What is care? 

Being a ‘carer’ or providing ‘care’ means that you are supporting someone, or more than one person, with their daily living needs. 

This might include: 

  • practical things, like cooking, cleaning and shopping 
  • physical care, like helping someone out of bed 
  • emotional support, including talking to someone who is distressed 
  • personal care, such as helping someone dress or wash 
  • budgeting and managing money for the family 
  • collecting prescriptions at the pharmacy or GP surgery 
  • helping to give medicine 
  • helping someone communicate 
  • looking after siblings 

If you do one or more of these things regularly and are aged 18 or under, you may be a young carer. 

How many young carers are there in Scotland? 

Legally, a young carer in Scotland is recognised as a carer who is: 

  • 18 and still at school, or,
  • under 18, regardless of education status 

The Scottish Government estimates that there are around 29,000 young carers in Scotland. 

But this doesn’t mean that all of them are claiming the support they’re entitled to. So, if you recognise yourself in this article as possibly being a young carer, find out how you can access financial support and help with your wellbeing. 

More information 

Check out our Young Carers page for more information, Rewards and support for young people who provide care.