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Media enquiries

For media enquiries, please contact Carers UK’s press office through the contact details below.

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Christine Casely, Senior Media and Case Studies Officer, Carers UK

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Out of hours telephone: 07534 487 027

Case studies, good practice examples and spokespeople are available on request.

 

News

UK’s unpaid carers seven times lonelier than general public

10 June 2019

 

Loneliness epidemic facing UK’s unpaid carers

 

  • Urgent support needed as number of adult carers rises by a third to nearly 9 million
  • Seven national charities call for step change in the way society supports those caring unpaid for family and friends.

 

Unpaid carers looking after loved ones living with an illness, disability, mental health condition or as they grow older are seven times more likely to be lonely compared with the general public, new figures suggest.

Not having enough time, or money, to participate in leisure activities, as well as the stigma of being a carer, means one in three unpaid carers (35 per cent) are always or often lonely, compared with just one in twenty (five per cent) of the general population.

 

Research released for Carers Week 2019 (10th – 16th June) also reveals unpaid carers feel what they do in life is significantly less worthwhile compared with the rest of the population, with those struggling financially over a third less likely to feel that the things they do in their life are worthwhile. This is despite the vital support carers provide their loved ones and their enormous contribution to society.

The extent of loneliness and poor wellbeing amongst carers is revealed as new estimates suggest there could be far more people caring unpaid than previously thought.

 

There are a potential 8.8 million adult carers in the UK, up from 6.3 million estimated in the 2011 census – a huge increase of a third.

With one in six adults now taking on a caring role and at a heightened risk of loneliness – referred to as one of the greatest public health challenges of our time - seven national charities have come together to highlight the urgent need to tackle loneliness and improve wellbeing among the UK’s carers, who all too often put their needs second.

 

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

 

“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.”

 

The research comes from a survey of carers, the majority of whom provide over 50 hours of care for a loved one each week.

Evidence shows those worst affected by loneliness are parent carers looking after disabled children under 18 years old, being nearly ten times lonelier than the general public.

Unpaid carers report being twice as anxious as the general public, and those struggling financially or going without practical support with caring are half as satisfied with life as the rest of the population.

The findings show how financial and practical support can help improve the wellbeing of the UK’s 8.8 million carers and get them better connected to their communities.

 

You can read the full report here. 

 

The charities supporting Carers Week 2019 are calling for unpaid carers to be at the heart of much needed reforms to the funding of social care and for carers to be better supported financially. They are Carers UK, Age UK, Carers Trust, Motor Neurone Disease Association, MS Society, Rethink Mental Illness and Sense.

The headline supporter of Carers Week 2019 is British Gas, who will be providing its customers with support and advice on unpaid caring throughout the week, and Nutricia Advanced Medical Nutrition also supporting.

- ENDS -

 

Media contact

Case studies and spokespeople are available on request.

For media enquiries, please contact Carers UK who are handling media queries for Carers Week:

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Notes to Editors

About the research

Increase in number of carers:

The rise in number of carers was extrapolated from polling carried out by YouGov in December 2018 and January 2019, taking 17% of the adult population who say they are a carer in response to and applied it to mid-2017 population estimates of those aged 18 and over for each nation in the UK.

Carer loneliness and wellbeing:

The population data on loneliness used for comparison is from the ONS Analysis of characteristics and circumstances associated with loneliness in England using the Community Life Survey, 2016 to 2017. Published in April 2018.

Population data on wellbeing is taken from the Personal well-being estimates for personal wellbeing averaged across 2018. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland comparisons for wellbeing are to the figure for that nation’s whole population.

Population data was compared with data from Carers UK’s State of Caring Survey. Carers UK carried out the online survey between March and May 2019 and a total of 8,096 carers and former carers responded to this survey. Responses from the 7,525 people who are currently providing care are included in this report. Compared to the carer population as a whole, respondents to this survey were more likely to be female and caring for a high number of hours every week.

About Carers Week 2019

Carers Week takes place from 10-16 June 2019 across the UK. The theme is Getting Carers Connected.

Carers Week, established by Carers UK 25 years ago, is an annual awareness campaign which takes place to celebrate and recognise the vital contribution made by the UK’s 6.5 million carers. It is also a time of intensive local activity with hundreds of events planned for carers across the UK.

Website: www.carersweek.org

Twitter: @CarersWeek #carersweek

Facebook: www.facebook.com/CarersWeek

There are lots of different ways to get involved in Carers Week. From sharing information with a struggling friend, to handing out leaflets at your local GP’s surgery, we all have a role to play to help get carers connected.

What is a carer?


A carer is someone who provides unpaid care and support to a family member or friend who has a disability, illness, mental health condition or who needs extra help as they grow older.

The Centrica and Carers UK partnership

Carers UK and Centrica, the parent company of British Gas, have entered into a strategic partnership, building on a 15-year relationship which has helped Centrica develop leading policies to support employees who are carers. This includes paid care leave and a thriving UK carers’ employee network.

Together we want to create a world where every carer feels recognized, valued and supported. That means sharing useful information, raising awareness and finding new ways to care for our loved ones in their homes. We hope to make a lasting difference.

British Gas is leading the way with its multi-channel Share That You Care campaign throughout 2019, encouraging a conversation about caring. Carers often don’t open up about the struggles they have, so they don’t get the support they need. Speaking to carers, British Gas has produced a series of videos to raise awareness of the issue, and encourage others to share their appreciation of the carers in their lives. British Gas will be communicating with customers and via social media and to help carers seek support through www.britishgas.co.uk/ShareThatYouCare. For Carers week, British Gas is focused on helping those struggling with the impact of Isolation and loneliness from caring, supporting the new research from Carers UK.

About Nutricia Advanced Medical Nutrition

Nutricia Advanced Medical Nutrition pioneers nutritional solutions that help people live longer, more joyful and healthier lives. Nutricia helps to address some of the world’s biggest health challenges including age-related conditions and chronic disease, such as frailty, cancer, stroke and early Alzheimer’s disease.

Carers UK is working in partnership with Nutricia to help improve understanding about nutrition and care amongst carers. They provide support to carers though information resources, training, social media days and website information.

For more information on Nutricia visit www.nutricia.co.uk

 

Carers Week highlights the physical and mental strain felt by unpaid carers

07 June 2018

The physical and mental strain of caring “jeopardising” unpaid carers’ ability to care in the future, warn national charities

 

Lack of sleep, performing care tasks and the impact on their finances named as top stressors by unpaid carers.

Eight national charities have come together to call for urgent support for unpaid carers to be Healthy and Connected as new research released at the start of Carers Week reveals the toll that caring can take on many carers’ own health and wellbeing.

 

Released for Carers Week 11th – 17th June, the research reveals:

Almost three quarters (72%) of carers in the UK said they had suffered mental ill health as a result of caring, while well over half (61%) said their physical health had worsened.

Unless more support is provided,national charities are warning that the UK’s carers won’t be healthy enough to care for loved ones in the future.

Carers Week 2018 research

 

Cookery for Carers with Portsmouth City Council

09 April 2018

Many of us struggle to sustain a healthy diet, but the added responsibility of caring for a loved one can make food choices an afterthought. This year, nearly half of carers responding to our State of Caring survey said they struggle to maintain a balanced diet whilst 6 in 10 said their physical health had worsened since they started caring.

 Carers Week Eating Well 650

Combating Loneliness in the Workplace

03 April 2018

Caring for the people we love can feel like the most natural thing in the world. Yet, financial, emotional, and even physical demands have the power to create isolation – especially if your caring obligations are less understood in the workplace. On top of this, many people do not identify themselves as carers. 

CarersWeek2017 700

Sue explains the difference a carer friendly GP can make

12 June 2017

Former carer, Sue, tells us how a GP surgery supported her when she was caring for her mum, who had Alzheimer's disease.

"I was with mum when she got her diagnosis and it was a shock, even though I had suspected for a few years that she wasn't well. I didn't know what to do or what would happen in the future. My mum's GP didn't just give us her diagnosis and send us on our way; he was very helpful. He printed off information on Alzheimer's and identified me as a carer, pointing me to support.

Not enough value placed on unpaid care, says general public

09 June 2017

The UK public does not feel that unpaid carers are sufficiently valued, according to a new online public poll published today (12 June 2017) for the start of Carers Week.

More than 7 in 10 (74%) of the UK public feel carers are not sufficiently valued by society for the support they provide and this figure rises to just over eight in ten (83%) of those who have previous experience of caring themselves. The unpaid care provided by the UK's carers has been estimated to be worth £132 billion a year.

Charities join forces to Build Carer Friendly Communities

24 February 2017

Eight major charities have combined forces to get communities across the UK to register events and pledge support in the run-up to Carers Week 2017 (12-18 June). 

David Mowat MP, Minister for Community Health and Care, joined senior representatives from the Carers Week charities, NHS, local government and business to launch community engagement for Carers Week encouraging local organisations, the public and carers to get involved in the week and pledge their support to build Carer Friendly Communities.

Inspiring Carers UK volunteer Jacqui talks about her Carers Week experience

16 June 2016

Inspiring Carers UK volunteer, Jacqui, shares with us her great Carers Week experience.

"Living in Rutland, a rural part of the country, it has always been difficult to find those who do not know that they are carers. So using the theme ‘building carer friendly communities’ I decided that this year I would approach 4 GP’s surgeries and a local chemist and asked if I could have a stall in their venues. All those approached said “yes”.

Carers Week

Carers Week 2019 headline supporter:

 

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Carers Week is also supported by:

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These organisations have joined together to make Carers Week happen in 2019:

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  • Carers UK new logo
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  • MSS-logo-orange partnersrow
  • RethinkMentalIllness MasterLogo-transparent
  • Sense-transparent logo

 

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