What is a young adult carer?

What is a young adult carer?

The ‘official’ definition of a young adult carer

A young adult carer (or YAC) is someone aged between 18-24 who cares, unpaid, for someone who may be chronically ill, disabled, have a mental health condition or an addiction.

There are nearly half a million of them in the UK and they are often one of the most stressed sectors of the caring community. This can be because they are at an age when most of their peers are taking steps towards independence and planning for their future, all of which can be much more challenging for YACs.

Why do they need specialist support?

Aside from having to deal with much more than most people their age, young adult carers often lack financial support and have many more demands on their time than most young people.

They might be juggling caring with further education or starting their career. It can be stressful to ask for time off when you’re starting out. Finding the confidence to ask about an organisation’s leave policy or a college’s housing system would challenge most 18 year olds.

Added to this, the social care entitlements change radically when someone turns 18 and this can be a minefield to navigate.

So that’s why we have a team of extremely experienced people to work with carers aged 18-24 and help them take those steps into adulthood.

There are lots of things that young adult carers struggle with. There tends to be more support for carers in school and colleges but outside that, things are less regimented and you’re just sort of left to figure it out for yourself. That’s why it’s been so helpful to talk to my co-ordinator at Action for Carers. Just having someone to talk to that understands. I don’t have anyone else who can do that.

Young adult carer, Surrey

Why we believe it's so important to support young adult carers

  • 56%

    Struggle to manage studying alongside their caring role

    2018 Surrey-wide carer survey

  • 45%

    Say caring adversely affects their mental health

    2019 ACS Mental Health Survey

  • 2 x

    More likely to be unemployed or out of education when leaving school

    Carers UK

Hear from YACs themselves...

Young adult carers come from all walks of life and each will have their own unique caring situation. Hear what some of the YACs we've supported have to say.

Join our network

If you're a young adult with a caring role, we can help you! Get in touch and find out how. Text us on 07723 486730 and we'll come back to you as soon as we can!

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