Experiences of Older Adult Unpaid Carers in Scotland

Although I am still quite fit, as I get older and as my husband’s physical ability gets worse, I do worry about how I will manage in the future. Unpaid Carer

About the research

With Scotland’s ageing population, the future of unpaid carer across the country will become increasingly pertinent to older adult unpaid carers. It is therefore critical that we have a deeper understand of their experiences and challenges.

Between August 2022 and January 2023, unpaid carers aged 65 and above across Scotland were invited to take part in the research project through the completion of a survey, focus group or one-to-one interview. We asked unpaid carers within this age demographic about their caring role and how it impacts their lives in terms of health and wellbeing, access to support and respite, and finances.

Read the final report


Key findings

Research recommendations

The research makes recommendations for support for older adult unpaid carers and carer services and staff. Among its recommendations, we are calling for more support and funding dedicated to providing physical and mental health support for older adult unpaid carers, as well as developing specific programmes aimed at combatting social isolation and loneliness. We also recommend that the Scottish Government extend Carer Support Payment to older adult unpaid carers with underlying entitlement who are receiving State Pension.


Further Information

Watch our video below about the findings of our research report: Experiences of Older Adult Unpaid Carers in Scotland.


Read the recommendations and find out more about the experiences of older adult unpaid carers in Scotland.

Read our final report

Influencing Work

In March 2023, we held an event in Glasgow to launch the research on older adult unpaid carers in Scotland, with a mixture of local carer organisations, unpaid carers and third sector organisations in attendance.

On the day we heard from two unpaid carers, Susan and Jim, who shared their experiences of caring for a family member and the challenges they have faced as a result of their caring role.

We also heard from Maree Todd MSP (Minister for Social Care, Mental Wellbeing and Sport and former Minister for Public Health, Women’s Health and Sport). In a pre-recorded speech, the Minister welcomed the research conducted by Carers Trust Scotland on older adult unpaid carers and highlighted the important role they play in society. The Minister also spoke about the Scottish Government’s ongoing commitment to support unpaid carers throughout Scotland through the introduction of the upcoming National Care Service.

Finally, we also heard from Alice Motion from About Dementia who shared how the organisation support those living with Dementia and those who care for them. The organisation provides in-depth Dementia and rights-based training for unpaid carers, as well as host two regular working groups- Human Rights of People Living with Dementia and Human Rights on Unpaid Carers.

The event was also an opportunity for those in attendance to discuss the recommendations made in the report through discussion tables. From these discussions, we were able to start thinking about action plans and how Carers Trust Scotland and others can start to build campaigns to implement the recommendations over the next few months.

During Carers Week, ITV news undertook a special report on older adult unpaid carers and Carers Trust Scotland were interviewed about our research as part of this feature. 

Watch this special ITV report featuring Beth Friel from Carers Trust Scotland

If you would like to find out more about the research report, recommendations and campaign work, please get in touch with our Research and Influencing Officer Beth Friel: efriel@carers.org