As charity Carers UK publishes new research showing the impact of caring on those looking after a disabled, older or seriously-ill loved one, carers call for an urgent increase in support to be a priority for the new Government.
The new research1, based on the experiences of 4500 carers, reveals that nearly half (48%) of carers are struggling to make ends meet. 40% of carers want increasing financial support for families providing unpaid care to be Government’s top priority.
The research found that 8 in 10 carers surveyed (82%) say that looking after a disabled, older or seriously-ill relative or friend has had a negative impact on their health, with three-quarters (74%) struggling to get enough sleep and three-quarters (76%) expressing concerns about the impact of caring on their health in the future. A third (29%) of carers are calling on the Government to make increased practical support services a top priority.
The report presents compelling evidence that, year-on-year, the health of many unpaid carers who look after disabled, older or seriously-ill loved ones for a high number of hours every week, is getting worse. More carers than ever before reported feeling stressed and anxious as a result of their caring role, with over half saying they have experienced depression2.
Today’s report paints a worrying picture of what life is like for the UK’s unpaid carers in 2015. Carers who were surveyed said that, as a result of their caring responsibilities:
•84% felt more stressed; 78% felt more anxious
•55% have experienced depression
•61% are worried about the impact their caring role will have on their relationships with their friends and family over the next year
One carer who took part in the survey said:
“The last full night’s sleep I had was in 2009. I have torn ligaments in my leg and I’ve damaged my back and both knees. I’m mentally exhausted and depressed, very isolated and lonely.”
Over the next five-year parliament, 10.6 million people will take on a new caring role for a disabled, older or seriously-ill relative or friend3. Through the State of Caring 2015 survey, carers said they are looking to the new Government to bring forward policies that will make a positive difference to their lives4.
Chief Executive of Carers UK, Heléna Herklots, said:
“Carers are saying loud and clear that they want to see action taken over the next Parliament to put in place the right care and support services to improve their health and greater financial support to stop them and their families ending up in financial hardship.
Our latest report shows that being a carer in 2015 can be incredibly tough, taking a huge toll on health and mental wellbeing, finances and relationships. More and more people are taking on a caring role – 10.6 million over the course of this Parliament. So getting it right for carers has never been more imperative. Carers can’t carry on doing this alone.
We are calling on the Government to take active steps towards making carers a priority over the next Parliament, to ensure that all carers have reason to be optimistic about their future by 2020.”
Carers UK will be launching the State of Caring 2015 report at the State of Caring Conference on Wednesday 20 May 20155.