National carers strategy: easy read

Unpaid care is vital to how social care is provided in Scotland, and the value of the dedication and expertise of carers cannot be overstated. This strategy sets out a range of actions to ensure they are supported fully in a joined up and cohesive way.

National Carers Strategy - Easy Read Version


This is an easy read version of the National Carers Strategy. This document sets out the Scottish Government's plans to improve unpaid care.

Caring can be a positive experience but carers need to be supported and valued. Without the right type of support, carers' health and wellbeing can suffer.

We must understand that every caring situation is different. This strategy covers 5 different areas of unpaid care, with a focus on support.

We have spoken with many carers about their caring roles to help us make this Strategy. This has allowed us to look at the important parts of caring, both positive and negative.

Living with COVID-19


An outcome is the end result of a plan.

The outcomes we want for living with COVID-19 are:

  • Carers feel confident and supported to protect themselves from COVID-19.

  • Carers and the people they care for feel supported and confident to re-engage with their communities.

  • Carers are supported to recover from the negative impacts of COVID-19.

This is important because

  • We know that our health and social care system could not survive without the help of unpaid carers.

  • The Scottish Government and others who plan support, services, and make laws must learn from carers' experiences and knowledge. This will help systems to work better across Scotland.

We can make this happen by

  • Keeping people safe in public places. This includes more hygiene, better ventilation and encouraging the public to wear face coverings when it is right to do so.

  • Supporting carers to be more confident and be part of communities. We will continue to speak with carers to find out how to make them feel more comfortable.

  • Supporting carers to recover from the negative impacts of COVID-19 and improve wellbeing.

Health and Social Care Support


The outcome we want for health and social care support is:

  • People who give unpaid care are supported so their caring role does not have a negative impact on their own health and wellbeing.

This is important because

  • Supporting carers improves the quality of life for them and the person they care for.

  • We know that many carers experience a range of health problems, and their caring role can make these worse.

  • We also know that accessing social care support can be a challenge for unpaid carers.

We will make this happen by

  • Supporting the Carers Act which says carers have the right to the support set out in their support plan.

  • Making sure carers can get suitable breaks that suit their needs. We know these breaks can make a real difference for carers.

  • Making sure carers can make choices about the support they get through self-directed support. This is important in helping carers balance care and other parts of their lives.

  • Supporting carers to look after their own health and making sure their caring role does not impact this. This includes pointing carers to local services and giving them more choice and flexibility around the services they can receive.

  • Offering mental health support services and making sure carers can find the right balance between their caring role and other parts of their life.

  • Supporting those doing end of life caring roles. This means ensuring that carers are valued and supported to care for people who are dealing with a progressive illness or dying.

  • Making sure the right services and support are available for those living with dementia, learning difficulties and autism.

  • Supporting disabled children, young people and their families so they can live their lives to the full. Supporting families to cope with their caring role and look after their own health and wellbeing.

Social and Financial Inclusion


The outcomes we want for social and financial inclusion are:

  • Full social impacts and costs of caring are understood and are kept in mind when making laws in all areas of life. This means that our society is fair to carers.

  • Carers can get the financial support and assistance they are entitled to.

  • Carers can work or go into education alongside caring if they want to.

  • Carers can take part in and are valued by their community and wider society.

This is important because

  • Without proper support, the demands of caring can have a negative social and/ or financial effect on a carer's life.

  • Social isolation can be a serious risk for carers because of the extra responsibilities they have and the money worries that often come with caring.

  • Helping people to care for their loved ones while also living rich and varied lives is central to Scotland's National Carers Strategy.

We will make this happen by

  • Encouraging carers to get the financial support they are entitled to. Making support accessible and raising awareness about the different benefits they can get. This will help to tackle poverty and the increasing cost of living.

  • Supporting carers in employment. This includes supporting them to get and keep jobs if that is what they want and making work environments better for carers.

  • Making sure carers can mix properly with other members of society and be able to access different social activities to avoid loneliness.

Young Carers


The outcomes we want for young carers are:

  • Young carers are supported and protected from negative impacts on their education, social lives and future opportunities.They should only have to give certain kinds of care that are suitable to their age.

  • Young adult carers are supported when moving from education to training and work while carrying on their caring role.

This is important because

  • Caring can put pressure on young carers, especially where they take on too many responsibilities or spend long hours providing care.

  • Without the right support, a young carer might experience negative impacts on their education, friendships and mental health.

  • Young carers do not always know that they have extra responsibilities compared to other young people. This means that they do not always know that they are a young carer.

  • We know that most young carers have poorer physical and mental wellbeing than non-carers. Young carers are also more likely to live in the poorest areas. This means they have fewer opportunities.

We will make this happen by

  • Getting it right for every child (GIRFEC). This is Scotland's plan to improve the wellbeing of every child and young person, including young carers.

  • Supporting young carers to be able to have the same experiences and opportunities as young people without caring responsibilities.

  • Making sure health and social care staff have the skills, knowledge and confidence to support and involve young carers.

  • Offering young carers support in schools so that the negative impacts of caring do not affect how well they do and how much they enjoy school.

  • Making sure young carers can access financial and social benefits and opportunities.



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