The life chances of many carers are being damaged by inadequate support, according to new research for Carers Week

The research found that when carers face a lack of understanding about their caring role from the overall community, it impacts their health, wellbeing, relationships and finances.

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.”

Mixed support from local services such as GPs, public transport and hospitals, means that the majority of carers are facing barriers to maintaining their health, balancing work and care, and balancing education and care,  which is having a markedly negatively impact on their life chances:

The findings also showed:

  • 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 Carers Week research shows that when carers are supported by their community, they face far fewer barriers to having a life outside of their caring role.