National disabled people’s charity Revitalise has unveiled the results of its new survey, entitled ‘A Revitalise Christmas Carol’. Echoing the timeless story of Scrooge in the Charles Dickens classic, the study examined the past, present and future of disabled people and carers.
The survey found that 8 out of 10 (83%) disabled people and their carers are concerned about what the future holds, with nearly half (43%) saying they were either very worried or had never been so worried about what is in store for them. Only 5% said they were unconcerned about the future.
Of the majority of disabled people and carers expressing concerns for the future, two thirds (63%) were concerned about diminishing respite and social opportunities, over half (53%) said they worried about getting less support from statutory services and 4 out of 10 (43%) expressed fears about ending up isolated and alone.
Highlighting their financial worries, a third (32%) of disabled people and carers said they had no idea how they would make ends meet in future.
When asked by Revitalise what measures would do most to improve their quality of life in the future, a categorical two thirds (65%) said more or better respite and/or social opportunities would make a difference. Nearly half (46%) said they needed more practical support and 4 out of 10 (39%) said they wanted to feel more financially secure.
Turning a spotlight on the past and present, the survey unveiled an apparent deterioration in the quality of life of disabled people and carers, compared with the past. A third (32%) of disabled people and an emphatic two thirds (66%) of carers agreed that their experience of giving and receiving care was better in the past.
In regard to the current worries of the disabled people and carers surveyed, fears about feeling isolated and stuck in one place came top of the list, shared by nearly half (46%) of the respondents, followed by worries about the practical support they get from social and other services (44%) and an increasing lack of empathy and understanding of their situation (40%).
A shocking 26% of disabled people and carers said they were scared to speak up about their situation for fear of repercussions.
In light of the survey’s findings, Revitalise is renewing its call for more practical and financial support for disabled people and carers in order to alleviate their fears for the future. The charity is calling on social care decision makers to take a cue from Scrooge’s redemptive story and help ensure that disabled people and carers can look forward to the future with more confidence.
Revitalise Chief Executive Chris Simmonds commented:
“Just as the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come gave Ebenezer Scrooge a disturbing glimpse into his future, our survey has given us a glimpse into the future expectations of disabled people and carers.
“While most people are looking forward to the New Year with at least some degree of optimism, the reality for disabled people and carers is that they have never been more fearful of what the future holds for them.
“For many disabled people and carers, the support they receive is an absolute lifeline, enabling them to maintain an adequate quality of life and make a meaningful contribution to society. But our survey has revealed that disabled people and carers have very little confidence that they will continue to receive the support they need into the future.
“Those who took part in our survey have also made it very clear just how important regular respite is for disabled people and carers alike. That’s why we will keep on repeating that access to regular, good quality respite breaks for disabled people and those who care for them should never be considered a luxury but an absolute essential.”
“Scrooge’s story teaches us that we must believe in the possibility of change. In the story, Scrooge was able to change his ways and alter the lives of all those around him. We should take inspiration from this lesson and give disabled people and carers the support they need to look to the future with renewed confidence.”
Disabled survey participant Fiona added this Christmas wish to Revitalise’s campaign:
“I would like people with disabilities to be included in society more, in work, leisure and social activities. I would like people with disabilities to not have to worry so much about their finances and for society to recognise the ability in disability.”