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Financial hardship is most likely to make carers lonely

Carers in the most financial need experience the worst social isolation according to the results of a survey.

In the Personal Social Services Survey of Adult Carers in England 2016-17 NHS Digital questioned nearly 56,000 carers registered with local authorities in England.

Almost 40% of carers who reported the most serious financial difficulties admitted they felt socially isolated, compared with only 10% of those who reported no money worries.

The Carers Allowance benefit amounts to £62.70 per week, while data from the charity Carers UK claims about two million people give up work at some point in their lives to care for loved ones with disabilities or illnesses.

The charity’s director of policy and public affairs Emily Holzhausen said: ‘Often, those looking after loved ones have no choice but to give up activities that would make caring less lonely when it becomes hard to make ends meet.

‘Our own research shows that 42% carers who were struggling financially had to make up for the shortfall by cutting back on seeing friends and family.’

Disturbed sleep

The NHS Digital report’s authors claimed financial difficulties caused by caring responsibilities are the only aspect of a carer’s life shown to have a statistically significant effect on every question asked.

As well as social isolation, 76% admitted their role left them ‘feeling tired’ while 64% said it had caused them to experience ‘disturbed sleep’ patterns.

Additional statistics show:

  • 21% have been providing unpaid care for over 20 years.
  • 71% were ‘extremely’, ‘very’ or ‘quite’ satisfied with the support or services they received, compared with 13% who were dissatisfied.
  • 90% of carers aged 85 and over (22,100) have caring responsibility for someone aged 75 or over.

Responding to the results, chair of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board Izzi Seccombe said: ‘Unpaid carers play an invaluable role in looking after those with care and support needs, and are estimated to save the economy £132 billion a year.

‘Without the incredible work of carers, social care and the NHS would collapse.’

She claimed underfunding of adult social care had limited councils’ ability to provide support to carers, and added she hoped the link between financial problems and social isolation would be addressed in the government’s upcoming Carers Strategy.

reproduced courtesy of RCNI – https://rcni.com/primary-health-care/newsroom/news/financial-hardship-most-likely-to-make-carers-lonely-93176

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