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

22 May 2015

As charity Carers Scotland (as part of 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 UK Government.

The new research (1), based on the experiences of carers across the UK reveals that almost half (48%) of carers in Scotland are struggling to make ends meet. 41% of carers in Scotland want increasing financial support for families providing unpaid care to be Government’s top priority.

The research found that 8 in 10 carers surveyed (85%) in Scotland say that looking after a disabled, older or seriously-ill relative or friend has had a negative impact on their health, with three-quarters (78%) struggling to get enough sleep, almost 9 in 10 (86%) feeling more stressed, and over half (60%) having experienced depression.

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, over 800,000 people in Scotland will take on a new caring role for a disabled, older or seriously-ill relative or friend (2). Through the State of Caring 2015 survey, carers said they are looking to the new UK Government to bring forward policies that will make a positive difference to their lives (3).

Director of Carers Scotland, Simon Hodgson, 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 – over 800,000 in Scotland over the course of this UK 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 UK 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 20154.

Media Contacts:

  • Lisa Gilbert, Senior PR and Case Study Officer at Carers UK, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / 020 7378 4937 
  • Fiona Collie, Policy & Public Affairs Manager at Carers Scotland, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / 0141 445 3070

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. The statistics in this news release are based on the 372 respondents from Scotland.

Only responses for the 4,572 current carers who completed the survey are included in the overall State of Caring 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. Carers UK: Need to Know (2014)

3. Through 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

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

Facts about carers:

  • In Scotland there are 759,000 carers caring for a loved one who is older, ill or disabled. This number is set to rise to at least 1 million by 2017.
  • Across the UK there are 6.5 million people unpaid carers. 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.
  • There are estimated to be over 171,000 adult carers caring for 35 hours a week or more
  • Carers save the economy an estimated £10.3 billion per year (£119 billion per year across the UK) with the unpaid care they provide, an average of £18,473 per carer.

Source: Facts about carers (2014) Carers UK and Scotland’s Carers (2015), Scottish Government

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