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Carers call for more support as new figures reveal worrying impact of caring

19 May 2015

As charity Carers UK publishes new research showing the impact of caring on those looking after a disabled, older or seriously-ill loved one, carers call for an urgent increase in support to be a priority for the new Government.

The new research1, based on the experiences of 4500 carers, reveals that nearly half (48%) of carers are struggling to make ends meet. 40% of carers want increasing financial support for families providing unpaid care to be Government’s top priority.

The research found that 8 in 10 carers surveyed (82%) say that looking after a disabled, older or seriously-ill relative or friend has had a negative impact on their health, with three-quarters (74%) struggling to get enough sleep and three-quarters (76%) expressing concerns about the impact of caring on their health in the future. A third (29%) of carers are calling on the Government to make increased practical support services a top priority.

The report presents compelling evidence that, year-on-year, the health of many unpaid carers who look after disabled, older or seriously-ill loved ones for a high number of hours every week, is getting worse. More carers than ever before reported feeling stressed and anxious as a result of their caring role, with over half saying they have experienced depression2.

Today’s report paints a worrying picture of what life is like for the UK’s unpaid carers in 2015. Carers who were surveyed said that, as a result of their caring responsibilities:

  • 84% felt more stressed; 78% felt more anxious
  • 55% have experienced depression
  • 61% are worried about the impact their caring role will have on their relationships with their friends and family over the next year

One carer who took part in the survey said:

“The last full night’s sleep I had was in 2009. I have torn ligaments in my leg and I’ve damaged my back and both knees. I’m mentally exhausted and depressed, very isolated and lonely.”

Over the next five-year parliament, 10.6 million people will take on a new caring role for a disabled, older or seriously-ill relative or friend3. Through the State of Caring 2015 survey, carers said they are looking to the new Government to bring forward policies that will make a positive difference to their lives4.

Chief Executive of Carers UK, Heléna Herklots, said:

“Carers are saying loud and clear that they want to see action taken over the next Parliament to put in place the right care and support services to improve their health and greater financial support to stop them and their families ending up in financial hardship.

Our latest report shows that being a carer in 2015 can be incredibly tough, taking a huge toll on health and mental wellbeing, finances and relationships. More and more people are taking on a caring role – 10.6 million over the course of this Parliament. So getting it right for carers has never been more imperative. Carers can’t carry on doing this alone.

We are calling on the Government to take active steps towards making carers a priority over the next Parliament, to ensure that all carers have reason to be optimistic about their future by 2020.”

Carers UK will be launching the State of Caring 2015 report at the State of Caring Conference on Wednesday 20 May 20155.

www.carersuk.org

Carers UK Adviceline: 0808 808 7777

Media Contact:

 

Notes:

1 Carers UK: State of Caring (2015). A total of 4,935 carers and former carers responded to Carers UK’s annual State of Caring Survey between February and April 2015. Only responses for the 4,572 current carers who completed the survey are included in the report as it is designed to provide a snapshot of caring in 2015.

Compared to the carer population as a whole, respondents to this survey were more likely to be female, disabled themselves and caring for a high number of hours every week.

2 Evidence of carers’ worsening health:

  • In 2015, 80% of carers reported that caring has had a negative impact on their health, compared with 78.5% in 2012
  • In 2015, 84% of carers say they feel more stressed as a result of their caring role (82% in 2014), 78% of carers say they feel more anxious (73% in 2014), and 55% of carers have experienced depression (50% in 2014)
  • In 2015, 41% of carers say they are cutting back on essential like food and heating, compared with 35% in 2014

3Carers UK: Need to Know (2014)

4Through the State of Caring 2015 survey, carers outlined the priority areas that they are looking to the new Government to act on to make a positive difference to their lives:

  1. Improve financial support so that carers and their families do not suffer financial hardship as a result of caring
  2. Ensure that there is sufficient funding so that older and disabled people get the care they need and which is affordable
  3. Improve carers’ health
  4. Strengthen rights for carers who want and need to juggle work with care

5State of Caring Conference 2015: www.carersuk.org/for-professionals/state-of-caring-conference 

 

Carers UK is a charity led by carers, for carers - our mission is to make life better for carers.

  • We give expert advice, information and support
  • We connect carers so no-one has to care alone
  • We campaign together for lasting change
  • We innovate to find new ways to reach and support carers

Facts about carers:

  • Across the UK there are 6.5 million people caring for a loved one who is older, seriously ill or disabled. This number is set to rise to 9 million by 2037.
  • Full-time carers are twice as likely to be in bad health as non-carers.
  • An estimated 2.3 million people have given up work at some point to care for older or disabled loved ones, and 3 million have cut working hours.
  • Over 1.4 million people care for over 50 hours a week.
  • Carers save the economy an estimated £119 billion per year with the unpaid care they provide, an average of £18,473 per carer.

Source: Facts about carers (2014) Carers UK

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