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The forgotten families in lockdown: unpaid carers close to burnout during Covid-19 crisis

23 April 2020
  • Reduced or closed care services mean family members in Wales are picking up even more care for older, sick or disabled relatives
  • Carers in Wales tell charity they feel ‘overwhelmed’ and are at risk of burning out
  • Carers Wales calls for Government recognition of unpaid carers’ efforts during pandemic and to ensure that carers rights are maintained as much as possible

A staggering 79% of unpaid carers in Wales are having to provide more care for their loved ones during the coronavirus outbreak.

More than a third (36%) of them are providing more care because their local care and support services have been reduced or closed.

A survey of 270 current and former unpaid carers in Wales showed that, on average, carers are picking up an additional 11 hours of unpaid care per week, helping loved ones with personal care, practical tasks and emotional support.

Reduced care and support services, and paid care workers isolating or without personal protective equipment (PPE), mean many carers in Wales have no choice but to care round the clock for loved ones with complex health conditions and disabilities - without any hope of a break.

More than half (57%) of carers told the charity they feel overwhelmed managing their caring responsibilities during the outbreak and are worried about burning out in the coming weeks.

85% of carers in Wales said they are worried about what will happen to the people they care for if they have to self-isolate or become ill.

Claire Morgan, Director of Carers Wales, said:

“Unpaid carers are just as vital in the national effort to keep vulnerable people safe during the coronavirus outbreak yet many fear that continuing to care around the clock will lead to them burning out.

“Many are overwhelmed and incredibly anxious about how they will manage in the weeks ahead.

“We are calling on Welsh Government to include unpaid carers in their planning to ensure they can continue to care and stay well.”

Before coronavirus, social care services were already in short supply and those families with support met a high threshold to get any form of care. Now, some of those services have disappeared and unpaid carers are having to cope alone.

Carers Wales is calling on Government to acknowledge the huge efforts of unpaid carers protecting vulnerable people during this epidemic. Carers desperately want paid care staff to have better access to testing and personal protective equipment, as well as wanting access themselves, so they can keep the people they care for safe.

The new research shows 77% of carers in Wales are having to spend more money during the outbreak. The top increases in expenditure include spending more on food (69%) – due to lack of supermarket delivery slots and need for specialist food - and household bills (52%).

 - ENDS -

 

Media contact

Please contact the Carers Wales office on 029 2081 1370 (Mon-Fri) Out of hours: 07377 723895

 

About the research

Carers UK carried out an online survey between 3rd April and 14th April 2020.

A total of 5,047 carers and former carers responded to the survey. This included 4830 current carers and 217 former carers. Compared to the carer population as a whole, respondents to this survey were more likely to be female and caring for a high number of hours every week. Of current carers responding to the survey:

  • 67% live in England, 19% live in Scotland, 9% live in Northern Ireland, and 6% live in Wales.
  • 81% identify as female and 18% identify as
  • 23% consider themselves to have a
  • 1% are aged 0–24, 4% are aged 25–34, 13% are aged 35–44, 27% are aged 45–54,

32% are aged 55– 64, 17% are aged 65–74, and 5% are aged 75 and over.

  • 4% identified as lesbian, gay or
  • 4% described their ethnicity as black or minority
  • 18% also have childcare responsibilities for a non-disabled child under
  • 36% have been caring for 15 years or more, 17% for between 10–14 years, 24% for 5–9 years, 20% for 1–4 years, 2% for less than one year and just 1% have been caring since the beginning of the coronavirus
  • Most (71%) care for one person, 20% care for two people, 6% for three people, and 2% care for four or more

As not all respondents completed every question in the survey, a number of the figures given in this report, including those presented in this Appendix, are based upon responses from fewer than 5,047 carers.

Previous research by the Carers UK suggests there could be as many as 8.8 million unpaid carers in the UK.

About Carers Wales

Carers Wales is part of Carers UK. We are 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

For practical advice and information about caring, www.carerswales.org or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

We have developed specific information to support carers during the coronavirus pandemic. at: https://www.carersuk.org/coronavirus

The Carers UK Forum is our online community of carers and is available to carers, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Carers can join the forum and Carers Wales at: www.carersuk.org/forum.

Website: www.carerswales.org

Facebook: www.facebook.com/CarersWales

Twitter: @CarersWales

Carers Wales is part of Carers UK. Carers UK is a charity registered in England and Wales (246329) and In Scotland (SCO39307) and a company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales (864097).

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