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  • Former carers report struggling with their health and finances when their caring role ends

Carers UK has published a new report detailing the experiences of former carers – those who have previously had an unpaid caring role for an older, disabled or seriously ill relative or friend, revealing the enduring impact that caring responsibilities can have on people’s lives.

The research included a survey of almost 1,000 people who used to have a caring role, as well as in depth interviews with nine former carers.

A third (35%) of former carers stated that their mental health had got worse since their caring role ended, with some carers saying they were struggling with feelings of guilt, sadness or loneliness. Other carers said they felt they had lost their sense of identity since their caring role had ended; that life felt empty or quiet, and that it could be challenging to rebuild friendships.

“I’m struggling with guilt and depression and finding getting out of bed a struggle”

A significant proportion (20%) of carers said they were struggling to make ends meet after their caring role ended, and 35% that their financial situation had got worse since caring. Where the person being supported moved into residential care, former carers reported increased financial strain due to care home costs. Some of those surveyed struggled to return to work after caring, feeling their age was a barrier to seeking employment.

Former carers reported that more support would have been beneficial when their caring role

ended, including support with bereavement and support with resuming paid employment.

57% of former carers said that support to help them cope with the loss of the person they care for would have been helpful, while 47% said support to cope with loneliness and to reconnect with family and friends would have been helpful.

Carers UK’s research suggests that support should start while people are still providing care.

Helen Walker, chief executive of Carers UK, said: 

“Caring can have an enduring impact on those who care. It is therefore important that when caring comes to an end, former carers are well supported as they transition to the next phase of their lives, with their needs considered by health and care services and employers.

“Supporting former carers to avoid loneliness, stay connected and manage their mental health is key. Carers centres, organisations supporting carers and counselling services can all help.“


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