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Recognising the carers in need of help


Suffering in silence

A new report released for Carers Week 2019 reveals the number of unpaid carers there are in the UK, and the mental and physical toll helping others puts on them.



A new report, released for Carers Week, reveals the worrying levels of anxiety and loneliness experienced by carers in the UK. This reflects the sentiments of those featured in our new video, which can be viewed below.

Carers Week is an annual awareness campaign to recognise the contributions made by the 8.8 million unpaid carers polling suggests there are in the UK (that’s 1 in 6 adults), an increase of a third from the 6.3 million estimated in the 2011 census. Previous estimates had suggested the number of carers wouldn’t reach 9 million until 2037.

Getting Carers Connected

Getting Carers Connected is a new report released in conjunction with Carers Week 2019 (10-16 June), supported by Age UK and calling for better support for the rapidly growing carer population.

Among the report’s key findings, unpaid carers are:

  • 7 times more likely to say they are often or always lonely than the general population
  • a third less likely to feel the things they do are worthwhile
  • nearly twice as anxious

On behalf of Carers Week charities, Helen Walker, Chief Executive of Carers UK says:

“With as many as one in six adults in the UK now taking on an unpaid caring role it is high time our society recognises and values the crucial support they provide.

“Many unpaid carers struggle alone without support. If we are to combat the loneliness epidemic facing them it is imperative that everyone – Government, employers, health and care professionals, schools and universities, and each of us individually – plays a role putting carers in touch with practical and financial help.

“Carers need to feel they are valued, understood and connected to their community.”

Want to learn more?

For the full picture of what carers in the UK are up against, and recommendations for action, read the full report.

Older carers

As our video below reveals, more than 2 million of the unpaid carers in the UK are aged 65 and over – with almost 400,000 of these aged 80+. This is because of an ageing population – and there’s a significant rise in people living with long term conditions. The video also hits home the mental and physical toll on those dedicating themselves to the needs of others.

According to Getting Carers Connected, carers aged 65 or older are 9 times more likely to say they often or always feel lonely. More than two thirds (69%) of carers suggest this loneliness stems from not having time to participate in social activities – while more than half of carers (56%) said they felt lonely because they’re unable to leave the house.

“We’ve been married 54 years,” says Joyce of her husband in our video. “I want to care for him as long as I can, but I don’t know how much longer I can do it.”

She continues: “My friends say to me, ‘Joyce, you look terrible! You can’t do it anymore – it’s making you ill!’”

What can be done?

Learn more about the current state of care in the UK, as well as the steps that can be taken to start fixing the problem with our Care in Crisis campaign.

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Last updated: Feb 23 2023

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