Only 10% of those caring unpaid for a relative or friend feel confident that the support they receive and rely upon will continue and half of unpaid carers said they expect their quality of life to get worse in the next 12 months. These statistics are just part of the findings given by Carers UK in their State of Caring 2018 report.
Further findings suggest that these fears are not unfounded. The research found that for one in seven carers (15%), either them or those they care for, received less support from care services during the previous year due to a reduction in the amount of support from social services, a service closing without being replaced or an increase in costs. This was despite carers saying that needs had either stayed the same or increased.
The research carried out with nearly 7000 people currently caring unpaid for loved ones, and released today, paints a worrying picture of families under immense strain and an underfunded social care system that is really taking its toll on families. Carers report that they are struggling to manage financially, look after their own health and keep their careers. Over a third of carers (37%) described their financial situation as ‘struggling to make ends meet’, while a further 20% said they are in or have been in debt as a result of caring.
These findings come as no surprise to us here at tide. We are a UK wide involvement network of carers of people with dementia, growing stronger every day. Caring for someone with dementia can, at times, be challenging, isolating and exhausting but it can also be very rewarding. There are about 670,000 carers of people living with dementia in the UK. They do a fantastic job, saving the state £11bn a year, but many say that they do not have the services and support they need, as evidenced in our Carers Week 2018 Stories.
Heléna Herklots, Chief Executive of Carers UK, said:
“As we look at the future of our health and care system, it is essential that relatives and friends who are the backbone of care in the UK are identified, valued and supported without exception. More attention needs to be paid to the priorities identified by carers in the State of Caring 2018 report, including the urgent need for access to affordable, high quality care services, financial support, regular breaks from caring and stronger workplace rights to support people to combine work and care if they wish to.”
Carers UK is urging national governments to take the lead in coordinating action across national and local government, the NHS and employers. It is crucial that immediate action is taken to make a difference to carers’ lives and achieve the following:
- Ensure that carers and their families do not suffer financial hardship as a result of caring.
- Deliver a National Health Service that recognises, values and supports carers.
- Put in place enough funding so that older people and people with disabilities are able to access the quality and affordable care they need and that carers are able to have a life alongside caring roles.
- Give carers a break and provide funding and a choice of quality services to enable carers to take the breaks they need.
- Ensure carers are able to juggle work and care, if they wish to, with support to return to work alongside or after caring.