24. Do you look after, or give any help or support to, anyone because they have long-term physical or mental health conditions or illnesses, or problems related to old age?

Why we ask this question

Your answer helps your community by giving local authorities a better understanding of carer needs in your local area. Information about people providing unpaid care is a key sign of care needs and can affect how public bodies provide health and social care services in your area.

Your answer helps the NHS and social services to meet their legal responsibilities. These include identifying carers and providing them with services and advice.

This information gives an idea of how social care services could be affected if unpaid carers were not available. Public bodies use the information, with other measures of health, to identify local inequalities and needs.

Your answer helps decide what funding the government gives to local authorities through the carer's grant.

The census first asked this question in 2001.

This question is asking about unpaid care. Include any help and support you give to someone who's unwell, elderly or unable to manage on their own.

Select the option that's closest to the average time you spend helping per week.


  • All unpaid care you provide, including occasional help
  • Any formally recognised unpaid care - for example, if you receive Carer's Allowance you're still considered to be providing unpaid care
  • Any unpaid care you provide because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic
Examples of how you might provide this help
  • Keeping an eye out or "being there": being available or contactable if needed
  • Social support and assistance: sitting, chatting, or reading with someone to support them
  • Accompanying someone on trips out: shopping, medical appointments, going to a place of worship or club, or social trips to the park
  • Home and garden assistance: making meals, gardening, or doing housework or home maintenance
  • Administrative assistance: help with filling in forms, paying bills, or sorting things out online or by phone
  • Medical help: collecting and ordering prescriptions, giving medication, or changing dressings
  • Moving about the home: help with getting up and down stairs, or getting in or out of bed
  • Personal care: help with dressing, feeding, washing or toileting

Don't include

  • Any hours that you work as a carer as part of a paid job
  • Support you provide as part of an organisation taking care of older people in the community
  • Any hours you work as a carer as part of a voluntary job
Important information:

Answering for someone else

If you're answering on behalf of someone else, where possible you should ask them how they want to answer. If they're away, select the answer you think they would choose.