Carers Week 2013 has launched today with new research of over 2,100 revealing that carers are being woefully let down by a lack of support when they first take on a caring role.

The findings from the report, Prepared to Care? show that support is not being made available to new carers with often devastating consequences.

The findings from the Prepared to Care? report show that:

  • 75% were unprepared for caring role
  • 81% said they were not aware of the support available
  • 61% of carers have experienced depression
  • 92% of carers say they feel more stressed because of their caring role
  • 35% believe they were given the wrong advice about the support on offer 

With around 6.5 million carers in the UK and 6,000 people taking on a new caring role every day, Carers Trust is one of the charity parnters within the Carers Week calling for the government, GPs and health and social care professionals to ensure that more support is given to carers from day one of their caring role.

The research goes on to outline the huge emotional, physical and financial effects that caring can have as people are not prepared for the impact of the role.

Becoming a carer "can happen overnight"

Helen Clarke, Carers Week Manager, commented: “The impact of caring for a loved one or friend is an issue that we simply cannot ignore. Becoming a carer can happen overnight and without information and guidance, carers can be left feeling isolated and alone.

The figures clearly show that carers aren’t being offered support and if they are, it can often be wrong or not the full information. The consequences for carers are huge, so it’s vital that GPs, health and social care professionals and the government all play a role to ensure that carers are offered the support they deserve from day one.”

Reaching breaking point

Carers flagged as part of the survey that they would have benefitted from better support and information from day one. As part of the Prepared to Care? report carers stated what would have made a difference to their experience , they included:

  • Better public understanding and recognition of carers
  • Access to information and the right support from the beginning
  • Professionals understanding the role of carers and sharing information, decision making and planning with them.
  • Access to high quality practical and emotional support and information as well as breaks from caring
  • Flexible working practices and understanding from employers
  • Financial support and a fair and easy to navigate welfare system