Once you have realised that what you do for your relative or friend is more than what is expected in a normal relationship, it is probably time for you to start thinking about your own needs.  As carers we often say 'if the person I care for is receiving all the necessary services then I don't have any specific needs of my own.' However, it should be possible for you to be able to define your care-giving within certain boundaries, so that you are working in partnership with those services. It is not unreasonable to expect that you should have time for yourself to engage in those activities which you find life enhancing and help maintain your wellbeing.

Initially, as carers, we may find that the support and information we receive from a group or voluntary agency, such as CAUSE, is all that we need or can cope with. As time goes on it is important that we maintain our social networks, families and friends, because caring can be a lonely and isolating experience.

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