Carers UK concern over warning signs of growing pressure on carers

Source: Carers UK,
16 September 2015

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 Information 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 one3 in 4 (74%) carers reported that they either have no control over
their daily life or that they have some control, but not enough4 in 10 (43%) carers reported that they feel they are neglecting
themselves or that sometimes they can’t look after themselves well enoughAlmost 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 role3 in 4 of carers are worried about the impact of their caring role
on their healthNearly 1 in 2 carers struggle to maintain a balanced diet1 in 2 carers report feeling depressed, and 8 in 10 feel more
stressed, due to their caring responsibilities82% 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