From Carers UK
‘Carers pushed to breaking point
11 September 2014
Carers across the UK are being pushed to the brink – suffering exhaustion, physical and mental breakdown as they struggle to care for older or disabled loved ones.
Carers UK’s Carers at breaking point research – based on a survey of over 5,000 carers1 – shows:
- 6 in 10 caring for an older, disabled or seriously ill loved one have reached breaking point.
- A quarter needing medical treatment as a result.
- 63% suffered depression and 79% reported anxiety.
Heléna Herklots, Chief Executive, Carers UK said:
“For millions of families, caring for older or disabled loves ones means a daily battle with exhaustion, stress and anxiety. Carers reported exhaustion, suffering physical injury and collapsing from stress and anxiety as they struggled to care for ageing parents with conditions like dementia, severely disabled children or seriously ill partners. A fifth of carers were receiving no practical help at all – leaving them unable to take a break from caring or even get a good night’s sleep.”
The report out today (11 September) also reveals:
- For 1 in 9 carers who had suffered a breakdown, the person cared for had to be rushed to hospital or needed emergency social care while the carer recovered.
- 46% in crisis had fallen ill but had no choice but to carry on caring – unable to access additional help from social care services or the NHS.
Carers UK has warned that even greater numbers of carers face crisis, as social care services in England are cut by £3.5 billion and carers’ benefits by £1 billion.
Carers UK is calling on all political parties to take urgent action to:
- Deliver urgent new funding for social care services.
- Place a duty on NHS bodies to identify and support carers.
- End cuts to carers’ benefits and take urgent action to alleviate carers’ financial hardship.
- Implement a right to paid ‘care leave’ for those combining work and care.
84% of respondents were caring for 35 hours a week or more.
Carers UK is a charity led by carers, for carers – our mission is to make life better for carers.
- We give expert advice, information and support
- We connect carers so no-one has to care alone
- We campaign together for lasting change
- We innovate to find new ways to reach and support carers
Facts about carers:
- Across the UK there are 6.5 million people caring for a loved one who is older, seriously ill or disabled. This number is set to rise to 9 million by 2037.
- Full-time carers are twice as likely to be in bad health as non-carers.
- An estimated 2.3 million people have given up work at some point to care for older or disabled loved ones, and 3 million have cut working hours.
- Over 1.4 million people care for over 50 hours a week.
- Carers save the economy an estimated £119 billion per year with the unpaid care they provide, an average of £18,473 per carer. Source:Facts about carers (2014) Carers UK’
This is further evidenced from the results of a survey by FLASh (Families Lobbying & Advising Sheffield) in Sheffield.
Just what can be done?
Currently both Labour and Conservatives are promising to increase spending to the NHS, but are not increasing spending to Local Authorities, in fact this money is being cut and has been for at least the last 4 years. While most of the benefits which are paid to the persons with a disability and the Elderly are from Central Government departments, additional moneys for care and support are mostly paid by Local Authorities from Social Services departments. So the moneys available from Social Services are being reduced. The criteria for eligibility for these monies is through assessments to ascertain if the persons are in the categories of Critical or substantial, but even then it does not follow that all the monies to ensure you do not fall below these categories will be available. Where Family Carers are involved not only will their older or disabled relatives be in need of support and care, so will the family carers.
Social Care from Local Authority Social Services is as important as the NHS, so while one is being promised increased funding the other is receiving reduced funding. This can only have further impact on the services of the NHS and Social Services, so both areas will need increased funding.
But the NHS is welcomed by all in the UK and receives a fairly good press, even though there have been recent incidents of substantial failings, MidStaffs being only one. While Social Service does not get a good press, even though there have been failings, Winterborne being only one. But the press and Government are appearing to push the view that persons who approach Social Services are scroungers, this follows all the comment that there are Benefit Scroungers. So the apparent public view that all persons on benefits and under Social Services are scroungers. While some on benefit most likely are, the majority will not be.
Let us look at this, if persons on critical are not fully funded, what will occur, surely they will fall below critical and that can only be non-survival or in other words death.
The UK through no fault of the majority of the UK population as been in serious financial difficulty, but we are now being told the recovery is progressing, but cuts are still being imposed on those who can least afford it.
The time is long over due that persons with a disability and the elderly and also their carers, where applicable, need to be given all the care and support that is required to ensure existence, for not to, will eventually mean that they will be here no more. Or is this what those in power in Local Authorities and Central Government wish to occur.