Carers Week survey shows two in five unpaid carers are sacrificing their own health by putting off medical treatment to care for an ill, frail or disabled loved one – as charities call for action to end the care crisis.
The survey, completed by 3,400 carers, also showed that caring had a negative impact on 83 per cent of carersâ€™ physical health, with 36 per cent of carers sustaining a physical injury (such as back pain)Â through caring. A further:
The eight Carers Week charity partners say this is further evidence of a growing care crisis and are calling for better financial and practical support for the 6.4 million unpaid carers in the UK, so they can look after their health and well-being.
Many carers have delayed medical treatments ranging from a hernia operation to cancer screening as a result of their caring responsibilities. Tracy Sloan has cared for her son Phillip, who has severe cerebral palsy, for 20 years. Last year, she put off a regular screening appointment and then discovered she had cancer – even after treatment, she had no time for recovery.
â€œLooking after Phillip is so full on, that it just didnâ€™t occur to me to keep an eye on my own health. I was really shocked when I discovered I had cancer and needed an operation. I came home from hospital exhausted, emotional and fragile. I really needed the chance to rest but instead I had to deal with Phillipâ€™s demands too and that took its toll on my recovery.â€
Carers Week Manager Helen Clarke says; â€œItâ€™s a scandal that carers canâ€™t get the time or support they need to look after themselves which could be jeopardising their health as a result. Carers are feeling the strain of a woefully underfunded system and still weâ€™re seeing more cuts. Unpaid carers save the Government a fortune – Â£119 billion a year, yet theyâ€™re let down in return. It is time for urgent action to tackle the crisis in social care.â€
Carers Week is calling for sustainable social care funding, better signposting and access to support services and for regular health checks to be offered to carers.
Nearest tube: Elephant & Castle underground station (Northern and Bakerloo lines).
Nearest Railway Station: Elephant & Castle
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