Lack of support and awareness damaging life chances of UK’s carers.

New research launched for Carers Week 2016 has found that a lack of understanding about their caring role from the overall community has a negative effect on the health, wellbeing, relationships and finances of unpaid carers.

Three-quarters of carers (74%) with some of the most intensive caring responsibilities say their community does not understand or value their caring role, resulting in high numbers of carers struggling to balance other areas of their lives with caring.

Gail Scott-Spicer, Chief Executive of Carers Trust, said:

“Even a small amount of support can have a major impact on a carer’s life. A flexible appointment, schools and colleges raising awareness of caring responsibilities and employers having policies in place to support carers can make a massive difference.

“We’d like to see workplaces, the government and education services taking measures to ensure they are doing all they can to support carers in their community.”

With mixed support from local services such as GPs, public transport and hospitals, the majority of carers face barriers to maintaining their health, balancing work and care as well as balancing education and care, which is having a marked impact on their life chances.

The findings also revealed:

  • Over half of carers (51%) have let a health problem go untreated
  • Half of carers (50%) have seen their mental health get worse
  • Two thirds of carers (66%) have given up work or reduced their hours to care
  • Almost half of carers (47%) have struggled financially
  • Almost one third of carers (31%) only get help when it is an emergency

The research reveals that when carers are supported by their community, they do not need to cope with so many barriers to having a life outside their caring role.

Visit the Carers Week website for the full report: Building Carer Friendly Communities

Carers Week is an annual campaign to recognise the UK’s carers and highlight the challenges they face. It is run by a group of charities working together: Carers UK, Carers Trust, Age UK, Independent Age, Macmillan Cancer Support, Motor Neurone Disease Association and MS Society.

This year the focus is on building Carer Friendly Communities, which support carers to look after their loved ones well, while recognising that they are individuals with needs of their own.

Find out about activities happening in your area or pledge your support by visiting the Carers Week website.