Ageing society means more support needed for older unpaid carers
A new report commissioned by the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) has led to the development of new resources to help ageing unpaid carers plan for a future when they are less able to care. Carers Trust led on this project through the VCSE Health and Wellbeing Alliance (HWA).
A set of free resources has been released to help commissioners, providers and frontline staff to develop and deliver services to unpaid carers that enable them to plan for a future when they are less able or unable to care.
The resources are based on the findings of a new report – No Longer Able to Care: Supporting older carers and ageing parent carers to plan for a future when they are less able or unable to care. The resources provide practical tips that can be used to develop services that help carers plan for the future, and a suggested pathway for supporting carers to get the support they need at the time they need it.
The report found that the majority of unpaid carers surveyed do not have a plan in place for a future when they are less able to care. Unpaid carers said that getting support for the day-to-day challenges of caring took priority over the longer-term future.
The report therefore recommends:
- that there is an urgent need for the government to bring forward reforms to social care funding,
- that local authorities should ensure services are available to carers to plan for the longer-term future,
- and that local partners work together to ensure that support is in place.
The report also found carers from communities who face additional barriers to accessing services, want all services to be open and accessible.
Laura Bennett, Head of Policy and External Affairs at Carers Trust said “With our ageing population, it’s likely that more people will become unpaid carers. There will be a demand from carers for services that help them plan for the long term future. The Coronavirus crisis has shown us all how quickly things can change and that unpaid carers need plans in place for when they are less able or unable to care. Our report finds that carers are not getting that support at the moment that they desperately need. We’re calling on the government to ensure there’s enough funding for carers. We’re asking commissioners and providers to use the resources to make sure there is support in place to make sure carers can plan for the future.”
The project focussed on carers over the age of 50 and explored how older parent carers and ageing carers from communities who face additional barriers to receiving services should be supported to prepare for a future when they are less able or unable to provide care. Carers Trust worked with 8 HWA charity partners and the DHSC to develop the report and resources.
The project explored the challenges faced by carers from communities who face additional barriers to accessing services. The communities were: the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities; the Gypsy and Traveller communities; and the Lesbian Gay, Bisexual & Transgender communities.
The resources for commissioners will help local authorities work with local partners to ensure the services they commission include provision to support carers plan for the long-term future.
Resources are also available for service providers and frontline staff to help them develop services that will help carers put in place plans for a future when they are less able, or unable, to care.
Commissioners, providers and frontline staff can download the suite of free resources on the Carers Trust website.
Carers Trust worked with the following project partners from the HW Alliance:
- Association of Mental Health Providers.
- Carers UK (Carers Trust and Carers UK form the Carers Partnership).
- Citizens Advice.
- Complex Needs Consortium.
- Friends, Families and Travellers.
- The National LGB&T Partnership.
- The Valuing People Alliance.