One in four unpaid carers has not had a day off in five years, with many people being pushed into mental and physical ill health themselves as a result, a major survey has found.
Carers are reaching â€œbreaking pointâ€ as they struggle to take even one day off for years at a time, research by Carers UK has found. Seven thousand carers nationwide participated in a survey carried out by the charity.
Overall, 40 per cent of unpaid carers have not had a break in over a year, while 25 per cent have not had a single day away from caring in five years. This figure rises to one in three when the answers ofÂ long-term carers only are taken into account.
Nearly nine out of 10 (87 per cent) of carers struggle to get any form of respite from their responsibilities, according to the findings, published on Tuesday in the 2017 Carers UK â€œState of Caringâ€ report.
The charity pointed to the â€œcatastrophic impactâ€ of giving constant care 365 days a year.
Carers who had not had a break in a year or more reported a deterioration in their health, both mentally (73 per cent) and physically (65 per cent).
HelÃ©na Herklots, chief executive of Carers UK, urged the Government to improve support for carers, warning: â€œWithout access to breaks, carers can quickly reach breaking pointâ€.
She said: â€œCarers are struggling to get a break because appropriate support for their loved ones isnâ€™t available or services they rely on are being cut or charged for.â€
Some 6.5 million people in the UK provide unpaid care by looking after an ill, older or disabled family member, friend or partner, and 1.4 million people provide over 50 hours of unpaid care per week. Surviving on a pittance But while the UKâ€™s unpaid carers save the economy an estimated Â£56.9bn per year, according to the ONS, they are entitled to just Â£62.70 per week Carerâ€™s Allowance for a minimum of 35 hours work â€“ the equivalent of Â£1.79 per hour.
Almost half (48 per cent) of carers responding to the survey reported living on a household income of less than Â£1,500 per month. â€œThe Government has no understanding that so many carers have to use up all their savings and investments just to make ends meet,â€ said one respondent. â€œCarers are saving them millions and millions of pounds in caring for their loved ones, yet struggle to even receive a mere pittance [of benefits].â€ A spokesman for the Department of Health said: â€œWe are committed to improving social care, which is why we will consult later this year and put it on a stable footing for the future.â€
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Nearest Railway Station: Elephant & Castle
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