From August 2016 to March 2017,  we campaigned in England to raise awareness of older carers' issues, influence health and social care policy and heighten public perception of older carers.
  • There are over one million carers over the age 65 in the UK. 
  • Almost one in ten people over 85 provide unpaid care, with this number set to double over the next 20 years.
  • Most carers aged over 70 are providing over 60 hours care a week.

Our Speak up for Older carers campaign aimed to raise awareness of issues affecting carers over the age of 65. 

We aimed to influence health and social care policy and heighten public perception of older carers.

Here's how you could get involved in the campaign:

Retirement on Hold report

Carers Trust launched Retirement on Hold (PDF, 406KB), a  report which highlights some of the challenges faced by older carers and makes recommendations to improve their experience now and in the future.

The report was written following a consultation with older carers in 2016. Thank you to all the carers and Network Partners who made contributions.

Key findings of the report:

  • Care coordination – carers said they were spending too much time, and became stressed and anxious when trying to organise care and support for the person with care needs. 
  • Carers are caring for someone else when they have their own age-related health condition.
  • The pressures around carers feeling they had a 'duty to care' – the Care Act recognises that caring should be a choice.
  • Lack of appropriate replacement care to enable carers to take a break. 

Key recommendations:

  • Access to a 'care coordinator' – many older carers felt this would help them navigate the health and care system. It is recognised that with limited resources this may not be feasible, however, earlier referral to a carer organisation may help improve the situation for carers. 
  • Appropriate and timely access to information and advice about support available locally, nationally and UK wide. This information would need to recognise that not all older carers are able to access the internet.
  • Improved access to appropriate and good quality replacement care.

Carers looking for support can find details of their nearest Network Partner on this website, or by phoning 0300 772 9600.

Read more in our news story: No such thing as retirement for older carers, says new Carers Trust report (7 February 2017)

Survey findings: tell us about your health as a carer

Between October and November 2016, 422 carers aged 65+ took our survey to tell us about their health as a carer.

We wanted to know how their own health is influenced by their caring role. The survey revealed some distressing results about carers' own health:

  • 86% had health problems of their own.
  • 67% said their health condition was as a direct result of their caring role.
  • 57% had cancelled or postponed their own doctor or hospital appointments.
  • 81% (328) said they felt lonely and isolated and 83% said their loneliness and isolation was having a negative impact on their health.

Read our news story about the survey results and what we called for in response

Identifying carers on the free NHS Health Check

Between December 2016-January 2017 we asked you to email your local health service to add a question to the free NHS health check that identifies carers.

With growing numbers of people caring for longer and well into old age, it is important to identify them early and offer appropriate support.

The e-action has now closed - thank you to everyone who took part!

Where is my care coordinator?

We began the Speak up for older carers campaign in August 2016 by asking you to contact your local councillors.

We wanted you to find out what is happening with health and social care coordination in your local area and to ask for more support.

The e-action has now closed - thank you to everyone who took part!

What we hoped to achieve in this campaign

  1. A call for better coordination of health and social care services to reduce the pressure placed on older carers.
  2. For increased identification, recognition and support for older carers caring for their elderly partner or family member.
  3. To reduce the amount of time older carers spend travelling to and juggling appointments, with and for the person they care.

This role is harder than any I had when I was employed, I am supposed to be retired now but it doesn't feel like it. I am happy to care for my husband but it is all the rest – the endless calls just to be passed on that get me down."