Caring for 2 elderly parents - what benefits are available?

For information and discussion about benefits
Yup, they do.
Victoria, I'm really concerned about your situation, caring for two parents, living with them, so no "escape". Please think about how to make time for you to get out and about, away from your caring duties, because one day you will be on your own, and you need to have some life of your own to fall back on.
I don't know how NI differs from England, but feel certain that there must be some sort of Social Services Needs Assessment and Carers Assessment system?
Maybe you see having someone in to help as failure? It isn't at all. While someone is doing the basic domestic stuff, cleaning bathroom, kitchen, vacuuming etc. you could take a break, once they know the routine and mum and dad accept that the person concerned is helping YOU (not them!).
I feel sure that there will be someone in your area with nursing and/or caring skills, maybe with young children so not currently working, who would be happy to work during the day, whilst their children are at school.
I believe that Attendance Allowance is available in Northern Ireland

http://www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice ... -allowance

so it your parents don't already get it, now would be a good time to apply ! It is not means tested and doesn't have to be declared for income tax purposes.
To put your minds at a little ease, we do have someone who comes in and cleans twice a week for a short time. They've been coming for years so I don't do much housework other than a bit of tidying up between times and the laundry and of course the cooking.

Life after the parents, the difficult bit will be getting back into employment. Other life not so difficult in that I've never had any problems with joining things/classes and I actually prefer doing things by myself when I get the chance. I would say it will be novel to have a lot of 'freetime' but once I am in work, I have a tendency to be a work alcoholic. I do realise I will probably find the loss of the parents a shock to the system but that is something I will have to cope with be it with my brother, or doctor/therapist. Only so much that I can predict on how I will react.

It's not that we don't want help, just at the moment the help that carers would provide is not overly useful to us. It will undoubtedly become useful.
Victoria

If you're only source of income is Carers Allowance then you should be able to claim an Income support top-up to JSA rates, approx £12 per week extra. However, if the same happens in NI as in England, once you've got the IS top-up this automatically qualifies you for the Carers Premium (approx £33 per week extra.) Because of the IS top-up you also automatically qualify for free prescriptions, dental care, etc.

Here's a NI link for you about Income support.

https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/income-support