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Years of missing out on support taking its toll on the health and finances of those caring for loved ones

25 November 2016

Those looking after older or disabled loved ones are missing out on vital practical and financial support with disastrous consequences for their own health and finances, according to new findings released today (25 November) on Carers Rights Day by Carers UK.

People often don’t see themselves as carers and aren’t identified and as a result miss out on support. Half of carers (52%) surveyed said missing out on support as a result of not identifying as a carer impacted negatively on their finances and a similar number (50%) said it had an impact on their physical health.

New research published today ‘Missing Out: the identification challenge’ [1] also reveals that:

  • More than half of people (54%) took over a year to recognise their caring role, almost one in four (24%) took over 5 years to identify as a carer, and nearly one in ten (9%) took over 10 years.
  • Some groups of carers, such as those caring for disabled children or people with mental health conditions, or caring at a distance, take longer than average to identify their role
  • Nine in ten (91%) of carers said they missed out on financial or practical support (or both) as a result of not identifying as a carer
  • Three quarters of carers (78%) said missing out on support as a result of not identifying as a carer meant they suffered from stress and anxiety
  • Two in five carers (42%) said missing out on support as a result of not identifying as a carer caused them to give up work to care.

The charity is using Carers Rights Day to reach as many of the 6.5 million carers in the UK as possible with information about their rights and the financial and practical help they are entitled to; including benefits, such as Carer’s Allowance, respite and access to equipment and technology which can help them in their caring role.

On a positive note, the research suggested there has been an increase, of 10%, in the number of people who recognised their caring role within the first year of caring. Nearly half (46%) of those who responded to this question compared to 36% of people in 2006; showing the difference that public awareness campaigns and support provided by Carers UK and others has made.

Heléna Herklots, Chief Executive of Carers UK, said:

“For many people, looking after an ill, older or disabled loved one doesn’t have a name, it is ‘just something you do’. However, not recognising you are carrying out a caring role can be a barrier to accessing vital support. The longer it takes to identify as an unpaid carer, the more likely it is that carers will struggle without the support and advice they need. Frontline professionals, such as GPs, teachers and social workers, play a central role in ensuring carers are identified and then guided to support as early as possible in their caring journey.”

Carers UK is calling for:

  • A new duty on the NHS and education professionals to put in place policies to identify carers and to promote their health and well-being.
  • Development of education, information and training for a range of frontline professionals to increase knowledge and signposting of carers
  • Improved access to information and advice for carers
  • A public awareness campaign to improve understanding and recognition of carers

Carers UK has developed a range of tools to help carers early in their caring journey get the information and support they need:

  • Upfront, the first online guide of its kind gives tailored financial and practical information to those who are new to caring. www.carersuk.org/upfront
  • ‘Looking after someone’, its annual guide to carers’ rights and the practical and financial support available.
  • For more information about the financial and practical support available for carers, go to www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice

A copy of the report can be downloaded from 25 November from the Carers UK website www.carersuk.org/missingout


-ENDS-

Media contact

Spokespeople and case studies are available.

 

Please contact the Carers UK press office on:

  • 020 7378 4937/4942 (9am-5pm, Monday-Friday)
  • 07534 487 027 (out of hours)
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

References

[1] Carers UK (2016): Missing Out: the identification challenge

 

About the data

The research is gathered from Carers UK’s annual State of Caring Survey of carers which in 2016 had 5,682 current carers’ responses. The survey responses were collected in the Spring of 2016. The sample sizes for the research questions used in the Missing Out report range from 3-5000 current carers.

The 2006 survey is based on a smaller number of respondents.

 

Notes to editors

About Carers Rights Day

Carers Rights Day is an annual national awareness campaign organised by the charity Carers UK, which aims to reach as many of the 6.5 million carers in the UK as possible with information about their rights and the financial and practical help they are entitled to; including benefits, such as Carer’s Allowance, respite and access to equipment and technology which can help them in their caring role.

 

About Carers UK

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

 

For practical advice and information about caring, contact the Carers UK Adviceline on 0808 808 7777 (10am-4pm, Monday-Friday) or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Our listening service is available Mondays and Tuesdays, between 9am-7pm.

 

The Carers UK Forum is our online community of carers and is available to Carers UK members 24 hours a day, 365 days a year: www.carersuk.org/forum.

 

Website:           www.carersuk.org

Facebook:        www.facebook.com/carersuk

Twitter:              @CarersUK

 

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