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Alarming numbers of people feel isolated and lonely as a result of caring for their loved ones

23 January 2015

New research[i] by Carers UK reveals that 8 out of 10 carers have felt lonely or isolated as a result of looking after a loved one and over a third feel uncomfortable talking to friends about being a carer.

Lack of understanding from friends, colleagues and family, inadequate care services and financial pressures leave huge numbers of people caring for older, sick or disabled loved ones struggling with feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Half of carers (50%) report feeling depressed and 82 per cent say they feel more stressed due to their caring responsibilities.

Over half of carers (57%) have lost touch with family and friends as a result of their caring role and half admitted to experiencing problems in their romantic relationships due to caring for their partner or another family member or friend.

The new research, revealed as Carers UK enters its 50th Anniversary year, shows that:

  • 8 out of 10 carers (83 per cent) have felt lonely or isolated due to their caring role
  • 57 per cent have lost touch with family and friends as a result of their caring role
  • Over a third (36 per cent) feel uncomfortable talking to friends about caring, adding to feelings of loneliness and social isolation
  • 49 per cent have experienced difficulties in their relationship with their partner because of their caring role

The survey also found that 55 per cent of carers felt that they were unable to get out of the house much due to their caring responsibilities and 45 per cent couldn’t afford to take part in social activities.

Chief Executive of Carers UK Heléna Herklots said:

“Caring touches all our lives yet society and public services have yet to grasp how isolating looking after a loved one can be. Carers save the economy £119 billion per year with the unpaid care they provide[ii], yet their own health and well-being is suffering.

Caring for a loved one can be hugely rewarding but without support to have a life outside caring, it can also be incredibly lonely. Pressures on finances, a lack of support to allow carers to have a break and a lack of understanding from friends and colleagues, mean many carers feel that their world is shrinking.

Fifty years ago our founder, Mary Webster, described her caring role as like being under ‘house arrest’. As we mark our 50th Anniversary year at Carers UK, we want to ensure that no one has to care alone.”

6.5 million people in the UK are caring for older, sick or disabled loved ones. Carers UK gives expert practical advice and information and emotional support, connects carers, campaigns for change and innovates to find new ways to reach and support carers. The charity has launched a fundraising appeal during its 50th year to enable it to reach out to and support more carers.

Carers UK is also calling for better support for carers from Government and NHS bodies including secure and robust funding for care and support services, giving carers access to counselling services and a duty on NHS bodies to identify carers and promote their health and well-being. 


 ALone  caring thumbnail 

Download our research report, Alone and caring »


Case studies are available on request. 

Media Contact:

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Out of hours contact: 07941273108/07866808393

Notes:

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. 

Source: Facts about carers (2014) Carers UK


[i] Taken from an online survey of more than 5,000 carers (2014)

[ii] Facts about Carers 2014 (Carers UK) 

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