Warning signs of growing pressure on carers

Carers UK warns that society and public services have yet to grasp how challenging and isolating looking after a loved one can be, following publication of the Health and Social Care Informatin Centre’s ‘Personal Social Services Survey of Adult Carers in England, 2014-15’.

As the Government develops its new Carers Strategy, a comparison of carers experiences from 2012-13 to 2014-15 shows a worsening reality for carers*:

  • Almost 2 in 5 (38%) carers reported that they spend 100 hours or more per week caring for their loved one
  • 3 in 4 (74%) carers reported that they either have no control over their daily life or that they have some control, but not enough
  • 4 in 10 (43%) carers reported that they feel they are neglecting themselves or that sometimes they can’t look after themselves well enough
  • Almost half (47%) of carers don’t have enough social contact with people; and 15% have so little social contact with people that they feel socially isolated

Heléna Herklots, Chief Executive of Carers UK, said:

“The results of this year’s survey reflect what we know from families; that they are providing more care with less support and are finding it harder to look after their own health, maintain relationships with others and have a life of their own alongside caring.

“Carers save the economy £119 billion every year in the unpaid care they provide, yet their own health and wellbeing is suffering. As the Treasury finalise the Spending Review, the results of the survey should be a wakeup call for national and local government that more funding is needed for support to back-up carers.

“With the new Care Act introducing welcome new rights for carers to receive services, the results of this survey only add to our concern that the ever tightening squeeze on local government finances will prevent the new rights becoming a reality for carers.

“Caring touches all our lives yet society and public services have yet to grasp how isolating looking after a loved one can be. Caring for a loved one can be hugely rewarding but without support to have a life outside of caring, it can also be incredibly lonely. Carers tell us that good quality care services make the difference to whether they are able to look after their own wellbeing. Without this support, families can find themselves at breaking point.”

The survey findings correspond with Carers UK’s own research which shows that:

  • 8 in 10 carers have felt lonely or socially isolated as a result of their caring role
  • 3 in 4 of carers are worried about the impact of their caring role on their health
  • Nearly 1 in 2 carers struggle to maintain a balanced diet
  • 1 in 2 carers report feeling depressed, and 8 in 10 feel more stressed, due to their caring responsibilities
  • 82% of carers say that good care services are important because it gives them peace of mind knowing that the person they care for is being supported well

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