A carer is anyone who looks after a family member, partner or friend who needs help because of illness, frailty, disability, mental health problems or an addiction and cannot cope without support. The care they give is unpaid.

Unpaid care increased at a faster pace than population growth between 2001 and 2011 with an ageing population of people living longer. Long term conditions or complex disabilities means that people are living with increased health care needs for much longer.

“...you lose yourself in being a carer – although it’s a label, it actually becomes who you are – you are the carer, and that is what actually defines you...”

According to the Immigration, Borders and Asylum Report, prepared by the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF 2019), the number of foreigners living in Portugal increased by 13.9 percent in 2018, totalling 480,300, with 81 percent of foreigners having Portuguese residency.

A chronic disease is a long-term condition that doesn’t get better on its own and is not cured completely. However, if you have a long-term condition, you will be having to live with the effects on your health, for example dealing with pain or restricted mobility and having to make many daily living adjustments.

Caring for someone with long term health issues can be challenging and emotionally draining. The day is often consumed with a constant focus on the needs of the person you are caring for. Trying to find the briefest of moments to rest and recharge can be a challenge in itself. Saar@Home has the expertise, compassion and experience to help you find these moments to rest and relax and focus on you for a short time.

“It’s wonderful because I just feel as though I am living again, instead of just being a total carer.”

How do expats in Portugal find the support they need as unpaid carers?

If help with a loved one is needed, this is seldom readily available.

Most carers are understandably very reluctant to put their family member in care, and this is often not a consideration due to the lack of appropriate care facilities that can offer the kind of support carers are looking for.

How can Saar@Home help family members with the care they so desperately need?

Care comes in many different shapes and sizes; we have been able to support many families in managing the challenges of caring for a family member. The most common and popular type of care has by far been that of providing live-in care.

This type of care can be set up to provide much needed respite for the carer, allowing them to take a well-earned rest. This care allows for the main carer to be able to take a short vacation, visit other family members or attend to important business that might take them out of the country for a short period of time.

“Well I would be quite happy maybe every six or eight weeks; a couple of nights would be great..”.

Live-in care can be used as a form of respite care without the need for your family member to leave their own home. Respite care can be provided at relatively short notice to address an immediate need for both the carer and the person receiving care. It can also provide structured breaks for the carer with regular care support. This can create a long-lasting safety net for the family.

Burnout for the main carer is a real concern, as is the worry that the main carer may become unwell. Saar@Home can help take that worry away and provide the peace of mind that could help you continue to live that Portuguese lifestyle you love so much.