Carers let down by lack of support
Published on 10 June 2013 11:30 AM
The shocking lack of support offered to carers has been exposed by new research into social care across Britain.
The study also revealed the huge emotional, physical and financial effects that caring can have.
Research questioning more than 2,100 carers, called Prepared to Care? was published by the awareness campaign Carers Week, a charity umbrella group.
Among its findings were the following:
- 75% were unprepared for all aspects of the role
- 81% were not aware of the available help
- 61% experienced depression
- 35% believed they were given the wrong advice about support on offer
- 92% said they felt more stressed because of their caring role
The report, entitled Prepared to Care? and produced by the awareness campaign Carers Week, also outlines the huge emotional, physical and financial effects that caring can have.
There are around 6.5 million carers in the UK and an estimated 6,000 people are taking on a new caring role every day.
'Caring is an issue we cannot ignore'
The impact of caring for a loved one or friend is an issue that we simply cannot ignore, said Carers Week manager, Helen Clarke.
Becoming a carer can happen overnight, she said, and carers can be left feeling isolated and alone without information and guidance.
The survey's findings suggest carers often struggle to balance work and their caring responsibilities, with 45% of carers saying they had to give up work.
The study also highlighted the strain that caring can put on people's relationships, with 52% having experienced difficulties in their relationship with their partner and 61% having found it difficult to maintain friendships.
Calls for more support for carers
Charities affiliated to the Carers Week partnership called for the Government, GPs and health and social care professionals to provide more support to carers.
They called for:
- better public understanding and recognition of carers;
- better support from the beginning;
- greater influence in decision-making with professionals;
- access to high quality practical and emotional support and information;
- and breaks from caring.
Carers would also benefit from more flexible working practices and greater understanding from employers, along with increased financial support and a fair and easy way to navigate the welfare system.
Copyright Press Association 2013