Skip to Content Skip to Navigation
Member Login

Member login

No account? JOIN US
Press releases

10.6 million people to become carers for older, sick or disabled loved ones in the next five years

28 November 2014

New research by the charity Carers UK reveals that 10.6 million people will take on a new unpaid caring role for relatives and friends who are sick or disabled over the next five years, but unless changes are made, will be left under-equipped to deal with the challenges of caring.

  • That’s just under 6,000 people in a new caring role every day
  • £1.1 billion of Carer’s Allowance goes unclaimed every year
  • 42 per cent of carers miss out on financial support

The analysis, published to coincide with national Carers Rights Day on Friday 28 November, shows that as our population ages, the pressure on families to provide care and support to loved ones will continue to increase.

The research estimates that over 2.1 million people will find themselves in a new caring role every year, facing new challenges and often trying to juggle work and other family responsibilities with looking after an older, disabled or seriously ill relative or friend. This works out as just under 6,000 people a day or 10.6 million over the next five years. A caring role also comes to an end for 2.1 million people every year.

Chief Executive of Carers UK Heléna Herklots said:

“Taking on a new caring role can happen quite suddenly and people can be thrown into a situation which turns their lives upside down. It could be because a partner has a stroke, a parent has a fall or a child is born with a disability. It’s vital that anyone caring for a loved one seeks advice to ensure they are getting the services and support they are entitled to. 

“Without help and assistance carers can find themselves facing financial hardship, health problems, emotional stress and relationship breakdown. They can be pushed to breaking point. This has serious consequences for individuals and families and for employers and the UK economy as a whole.

“A third of people caring at any one time will be new to that role. This presents a big challenge for services, local authorities and the NHS as they need to identify and reach out to new carers who are not accessing essential help and support. With the Care Act coming into force in April 2015, it’s an opportunity to make this happen for carers.”

Previous studies have shown that £1.1 billion of Carer’s Allowance goes unclaimed every year and 42 per cent of carers have missed out on financial support as a result of not getting the right information earlier.

Carers Rights Day, organised by Carers UK, brings together more than 900 organisations across the UK every year to help carers in local communities to know their rights.  

Carers UK is calling on public bodies to make a number of changes to help carers access the support and services they are entitled to. These include a legal duty on health and education professionals to identify and support carers, improved access to information and advice and better partnership working between Government departments.

The full report and recommendations can be downloaded on the Carers UK website, including regional breakdowns of the figures.

Carers UK has launched a new Carers Rights Guide in time for Carers Rights Day. The guide includes important information including details on upcoming changes to carers’ rights. In April 2015 carers will gain new entitlements to assessments and support. The earnings threshold for Carer’s Allowance, the main carers’ benefit, will also rise from £102 to £110 per week. 

Media contacts
  • Nermin Oomer
    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  |  020 73784937
  • Chloe Wright
    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  |  020 7378 4942

Out of hours contact: 07941 273 108 / 07866 808 393


The research was carried out by Michael Hirst of the Social Policy Research Unit at the University of York on behalf of Carers UK.

Carers Rights Day is organised by Carers UK and the Carers Rights Guide is sponsored by Sainsbury’s plc.

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. 
  • 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.
  • 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

Back to top