This month (November) is National Family Caregivers Month
Recently, after reading articles about the shortage of carers in both residential settings and in people’s homes, I have felt frustrated and sad to read so many comments suggesting that there would be no need for these carers if families “pulled their weight”.
Why do I feel this way? Because the perception that “in this country, we don’t care for our elderly loved ones” is so far from the truth. Most people who require care (no matter their age or needs) are cared for by family members.
Let’s get some facts out there.
1 in 8 adults (around 6.5 million people) are carers and
- Every day another 6,000 people take on a caring responsibility – that equals over 2 million people each year.
- 58% of carers are women and 42% are men.
- 1.4 million people provide over 50 hours of care per week.
- Over 1 million people care for more than one person.
- During 2020 and 2021, Carers UK estimated there were around 13.6 million people caring through the pandemic.
Carers save the economy £132 billion per year, an average of £19,336 per carer
- 5 million people in the UK are juggling caring responsibilities with work – that’s 1 in 7 of the workforce.
- However, the significant demands of caring mean that 600 people give up work every day to care for an older or disabled relative.
- Carer’s Allowance is the main carer’s benefit and is £69.70 for a minimum of 35 hours, the lowest benefit of its kind.
People providing high levels of care are twice as likely to be permanently sick or disabled
- 72% of carers responding to Carers UK’s State of Caring 2018 Survey said they had suffered mental ill health due to caring.
- 61% said they had suffered physical ill health due to caring.
- 8 in 10 people caring for loved ones say they have felt lonely or socially isolated.
Debt and worry consuming unpaid carers as they cut back on food and heating
- Family members caring round the clock for loved ones who are older, disabled or seriously ill are being plunged into debt and struggling to afford food and bills during the cost-of-living crisis.
- A survey of more than 12,400 current unpaid carers found that one in six (16%) are now in debt as they try to manage their monthly costs.
- Those who have been caring for more than five years are struggling the most, with one in five (19%) in debt compared to 9% of people caring for less than five years.
- Those receiving Carer’s Allowance – just £69.70 a week for people providing 35 hours or more of unpaid care each week – are worst affected.
- Two in five (40%) of carers receiving Carer’s Allowance are in debt as they try to manage their costs. More than a third (35%) are cutting back on food and heating, with four in ten (39%) saying they are struggling to make ends meet.
So, the next time someone tells you that we all expect the state to care for our families and loved ones and don’t care point them here.
And if you are one of the millions caring for an elderly loved one and would like to find out more about the support I offer then don’t hesitate to get in touch with me.
The first 30-minute fact-finding call is FREE of charge.