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Older carers: new research findings

07 June 2015

Older carers (aged 60 and above) were asked which services in their local communities were the best at meeting their needs and which services failed to include them.

Almost three in five (59%) older carers said that one or more of their local services is not carer-friendly. As a result:

• 7 in 10 (71%) said it made it more difficult to look after the person they cared for
• 6 in 10 (62%) said it had a negative impact on their physical or mental health
• 1 in 4 (28%) said it had a negative impact on their relationships with family or friends

Much like carers of all ages, older carers found the pharmacy to be the most carer-friendly service overall. Three-quarters (75%) of older carers said the pharmacy was carer-friendly, with only 4.5% saying it was not.

Older carers said about their experiences of using the pharmacy:

"I use one local pharmacy, my 'chemist', which is always helpful, takes time to answer questions and knows Mum's prescription list."

"Excellent delivery service from the local pharmacy."

Care and support services were ranked as the least carer-friendly service in the local community by older carers (28%). This was followed closely by the local high street (24%) and then the GP practice (16%).

"A carer-friendly community would have early Social Care intervention to ensure that a person thinking of taking on a "Caring Role" understands and is able, well enough to take on the role."

"The social services do not seem to realise what care you need. They put people in boxes and do not listen to you; care should be more individual and tailored to the person."

"We need level, repaired, wide pavements; less street clutter, particularly on narrow pavements; clear signage for street names, directions, etc; and more public toilets. Many of the shops are very helpful – they are patient at the checkouts and help my aunt to pack her shopping."

Useful background statistics: Older carers

• There are almost 1.3 million people over the age of 65 providing unpaid care in England and Wales (Census 2011)
• There has been a 25% rise in the number of carers over 65 in England over the past decade (Caring into later life, Carers UK & Age UK, 2015)
• The number of carers aged 85 and over in England has risen by 128% in ten years to over 87,000 (Caring into later life, Carers UK & Age UK, 2015)
• 1 in 5 people aged 50-64 are carers; 1 in 4 women aged 50-64 have caring responsibilities, compared to 1 in 6 men (Census, 2011)
• 65% of older carers have long term health problems or a disability (Always on Call, Always Concerned, Carers Trust, 2011)

Case studies

Here are some examples of good practice case studies - of services that demonstrate how they have adjusted their practices to meet the needs of carers:

Age UK: Supporting older carers in BME communities, Camden

Age UK Camden has a broad service offer including day care, advice, direct payments support, counselling, dementia and a regional LGBT support service. Camden is a diverse borough with poverty and wealth side-by-side, and a rich mix of BME communities. Among Age UK Camden's work with BME older people and carers is: a day resource centre which supports Bangladeshi older people and carers in a cross-cultural setting; bilingual posts in day care, advice, direct payments support and care navigation; a focus within counselling on BME communities; partnership work with BME community organisations.

Carers Trust: Life Story work for carers of people with Dementia, Hartlepool

Hartlepool Carers Centre, in partnership with the Life Story Network, developed a programme of training for carers of people with dementia to use Life Story work to connect with the person they cared for and improve their own wellbeing. The course trained 24 carers to understand life story work and how they can use it to connect (and reconnect) with the person with dementia they cared for.

Carers Week 2018

These organisations joined together to make Carers Week happen in 2018

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  • Carers UK new logo
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  • independent age
  • macmillan
  • MSS-logo-orange partnersrow
  • MND logo
  • Which Elderly Care logo

Proudly supported by:

  • The Lockwood
    Charitable Foundation
  • Nutricia


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