If you're under 18 years old and help to support a parent, grandparent or relative with Parkinson's, either on your own or with other family members, you may consider yourself to be a young carer.
Being a young carer
Tahira and her three children talk about caring for Ashiq, who had Parkinson's.
Although you might not help your parent or relative directly, you may still need extra support, such as:
- someone to talk to - this could be another young person or someone you trust, such as a doctor, teacher or a family friend
- information, including where to go for advice and support
You may not feel like you want to talk about what you're going through, but it's important to find someone to share your worries with.
Although caring can be a really good thing to do – you're helping someone you love and learning skills that will be useful later on – it may have an effect on your school work and social life.
Support for you
No one – whether they are a young person or an adult – has to be a carer if they don't want to be. Accepting help gives you a better chance of looking after your own health and wellbeing.
You, or your parent or guardian, should tell your GP that you are a young carer. They can help you access any support you may need.
You, or your parent or guardian, should also ask for a carer's assessment. This is organised by your local authority.
An assessment will look at the needs of the person you care for, and how much your caring role affects your everyday life.
It can result in extra help being given to your parent, grandparent or relative and more free time and support for you.
An assessment is available to you whatever your age. You can speak directly to your local authority for advice, or ask someone in your family or at school or college to help you do this.
Our booklet, Parkinson's in your life: a guide for teenagers, contains lots of information and advice for young carers of people with Parkinson's. You can also order this information as a printed booklet directly from us.
Help with education
Ask your school or college whether they can arrange flexible courses or tuition if this would be helpful.
Your GP may be able to help you with this, or let you know about others who can help.
Young carers' groups
Around the UK, there are many young carers' projects and groups that can give you support and help from other young carers.
Last updated December 2013. We review all our information within 3 years. If you'd like to find out more about how we put our information together, including references and the sources of evidence we use, please contact us at [email protected].