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Press release: 70% of adults in Wales can expect to care unpaid for a loved one in their lifetime

20 November 2019

70% of adults in Wales can expect to care unpaid for a loved one in their lifetime

  • Figures released for Carers Rights Day show 70% of adults in Wales can expect to care unpaid for a loved one in their lifetime
  • Women taking on caring responsibilities eight years earlier than men
  • Carers Wales calls for Welsh Government to prioritise sustainable investment in social care services to support the 370,000 carers in Wales

You are just as likely to care unpaid for a loved one as own your own home if you live in Wales, new figures show.

Carers UK has published analysis by the Universities of Sheffield and Birmingham of data from 1991 to 2018 which shows that 70% of adults have cared unpaid for a loved one. This is similar to estimates showing 69% of the Welsh population own their own home[1].

Owning a home is a common life milestone and something many British people prepare for.

But figures released for Carers Rights Day reveal the stark reality that the average person in Wales can just as likely expect to become an unpaid carer for someone who is older, disabled or seriously ill - something that few people are prepared for.

The research also reveals that the average person in Wales has a 50:50 chance of caring by 45 - long before they reach retirement age. Women can expect to take on caring responsibilities eight years earlier than men. Half of women will care by the age of 42, compared to half of men who can expect to care at 50.

This means that women in Wales are especially likely to care during their working life – highlighting the need for employers to support their employees who may be juggling work with caring to stay in work.  They should be encouraged to adopt flexible working practices, have specific carer policies and give carers a right of five to ten days of paid care leave.

Claire Morgan, Director of Carers Wales, said:

“Many of us don’t expect to become an unpaid carer but the reality is the majority of us in Wales will in our lifetimes.

Our research shows that women are disproportionately affected and are likely to start caring more than a decade earlier than men.  Carers face difficult decisions about how to best care for their loved ones, balancing the care they give with work and other financial responsibilities.

“The next Westminster government has to make sure this ‘gender care gap’ is addressed by giving carers a right of five to ten days of paid care leave.  We urge the Welsh Government  to prioritise sustainable, long term investment  in our social care system so that millions of people caring for loved ones are not disadvantaged are able to stay in work if they want or need to and to be able to have a life alongside caring and be able to manage their financial future .”

 You can find the full press release in English and Welsh below

[1] 2016 data in the report ‘Home ownership and renting: demographics’ in the House of Commons library shows 69% of Welsh households are owner occupiers.

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