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Carers Week (11-17 June 2018): The physical and mental strain of caring “jeopardising” unpaid carers’ ability to care in the future, warn national charities

11 June 2018

Lack of sleep, performing care tasks and the impact on their finances named as top stressors by unpaid carers.

Eight national charities have come together to call for urgent support for unpaid carers to be Healthy and Connected as new research released at the start of Carers Week reveals the toll that caring can take on many carers’ own health and wellbeing.

Released for Carers Week 11th – 17th June, the research reveals:

Almost three quarters (72%) of carers in the UK said they had suffered mental ill health as a result of caring, while well over half (61%) said their physical health had worsened.

Unless more support is provided,national charities are warning that the UK’s carers won’t be healthy enough to care for loved ones in the future.

Carers worry about coping in the future

The research shows:

  • Over half of carers in the UK said they expect their physical (58%) and mental (57%) health and well-being to get worse in the next two years.
  • Two in five (43%) carers said that they expect to be able to provide less care or no care in the future because of poor physical health. One third of carers (35%) felt that poor mental health would mean they will be able to provide less or no care in the future.
  • Older people, especially those over 75 years old, were most likely to say they expected to be able to provide less or no care in the future because of poor physical health (54% of over 65s and 59% of over 75s).

Main stressors for carers

Carers were most likely to say that the impact of stress and anxiety on their own health was their main worry about the impact of caring on their own health and wellbeing.

Carers named the main stressors contributing most to their stress and anxiety as not getting enough sleep, providing hands on care for the person they care for, and managing financially.

Heléna Herklots CBE, Chief Executive of Carers UK, on behalf of Carers Week, said:

“This new research is a stark reminder that the enormous contribution made by the UK’s 6.5 million unpaid carers must not be taken for granted. Without the unpaid care provided every year by family and friends, our health and care services would collapse. Yet the physical and mental strain of caring, without enough support, is jeopardising carers’ ability to care in the future.


Caring for a loved one too often means carers neglect their own mental and physical health; finding the time and space to be healthy, get enough sleep  and maintain relationships with others are all huge challenges identified by carers.  Being left unprepared for carrying out care tasks and  battling with a complex health, benefits and care system are piling yet more stress onto carers.


We can all act to ensure carers know about and access help and support as early as possible in their caring journey.


There is a key role for Government too. The forthcoming Green Paper on social care funding provides a must take opportunity for the Government to put in pace sustainable funding for social care and to improve the support available for carers.”

This year the Carers Week charities are calling on communities, health care professionals, employers, and the wider public to support carers to get connected to health and wellbeing services and support. The week-long celebration of the enormous contribution that unpaid carers make to our communities is also a time of intensive local activity, with hundreds of awareness-raising events taking place right across the UK.

Carers Week 2018 is made possible by Carers UK working together with Age UK, Carers Trust, Independent Age, Macmillan Cancer Support, Motor Neurone Disease Association, MS Society and Which? Elderly Care, and kindly supported by Nutricia Advanced Medical Nutrition. For more information, visit:


Notes to Editors

About Carers Week 2018

Carers Week will take place from 11-17 June 2018, across the UK.

Carers Week is an annual awareness campaign which takes place to celebrate and recognise the vital contribution made by the UK’s 6.5 million carers. It is also a time of intensive local activity with hundreds of events planned for carers across the UK.


Twitter:      @CarersWeek  #carersweek


About the research


The UK survey findings are based upon the 6,828 responses to Carers UK’s State of Caring 2018 online survey from individuals in the UK who are currently providing care.


The research report will be available from 11th June at


What is a carer?

A carer is someone who provides unpaid care and support to a family member or friend who has a disability, illness, mental health problem or who needs extra help as they grow older.

For some, taking on a caring role can be sudden: someone in your family has an accident or your child is born with a disability. For others, caring responsibilities can grow gradually over time: your parents can’t manage on their own any longer or your partner’s health gradually worsens.

The amount and type of support that carers provide varies considerably. It can range from a few hours a week, such as picking up prescriptions and preparing meals, to providing care day and night.

Caring will touch each and every one of us in our lifetime, whether we become a carer or need care ourselves. Whilst caring can be a rewarding experience, it can also have a damaging impact on a person’s health, finances and relationships.

To find out how you can get support in your caring role, visit:

Background facts about carer health and wellbeing in the UK:

  • 7 in 10 carers (69%) said they find it difficult to get a good night’s sleep, over half (54%) reported that they have reduced the amount of exercise, and nearly half (45%) reported that they have found it difficult to maintain a balanced diet (Carers UK (2017) State of Caring Report 2017)
  • 2 in 5 (42%) carers said they had not received any training or information to help them keep well (Carers Week (2016, Building Carer Friendly Communities Research Report for Carers Week)
  • Young adult carers (aged 18-24) are significantly more likely to report a long term health condition than their non-caring peers (40% compared with 29% respectively). 45% of carers aged 18-24 suffer anxiety and depression, compared with 31% of non-carers of the same age (NHS England GP Patient Survey 2016).
  • 3 in 5 carers have a long term health condition, this compares with half of non-carers. (NHS England GP Patient Survey 2016).
  • A third of carers (35%) reported that they have physically injured themselves through caring  and half (51%) of carers reported that the have left a health problem go untreated (Carers Week (2016, Building Carer Friendly Communities Research Report for Carers Week).

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