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"The world shrinks": Carer loneliness research report

by Carers UK 16 August 2017

8 in 10 people caring for loved ones “have felt lonely or socially isolated”

Based on findings from Carers UK’s 2017 State of Caring Survey, this report looks at the levels of social isolation and loneliness among carers and former cares and the reasons why so many carers feel isolated. The report is published as part of Carers UK’s work with the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness  - a year long Commission looking at the causes of loneliness and the steps we can all take to address it.

Our research found that greater understanding from friends, colleagues, and the public, as well as more opportunities for breaks and social activities, are all needed to combat a ‘silent epidemic’ of loneliness affecting those providing support to ill, older or disabled loved ones.

More than 8 in 10 (81%) surveyed unpaid carers described themselves as “lonely or socially isolated” due to their caring responsibilities, with those affected facing a potentially damaging impact on their mental and physical wellbeing. The report suggests that current carers who have not felt lonely were less likely to suffer mental (42%) and physical (35%) ill-health compared to those who did. Carers who had felt lonely or isolated were almost twice as likely to report worsened mental (77%) and physical (67%) health.

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