One in three unpaid carers (32 per cent) looking after a loved one who is older, disabled or seriously ill has felt lonely or isolated because they are uncomfortable talking to friends about their caring role.
A further third (32 per cent) say they feel socially isolated at work because of their caring responsibilities.
Despite the huge contribution of unpaid carers to society, an overwhelming majority (74%) feel their caring role isn’t understood or valued by their community. An unwillingness to talk about caring has for many carers created a barrier to their inclusion at work, home and in public life.
For lots of people, looking after a loved one is ‘just something you do’ meaning many do not recognise their caring role straight away. Nine in 10 carers (91 per cent) say they have missed out on financial or practical support – or both – because they didn’t identify themselves as a carer. Three quarters (78 per cent)5] reported suffering from stress and anxiety as a result of missing out on support.
On 13th March 2019, seven national charities, employers, NHS and local government representatives met with the Minister of State for Care, Caroline Dinenage MP, to discuss ways of getting unpaid carers better connected to vital support in the community.
It was an opportunity for charities to highlight the support of the UK’s 6.5 million carers and their enormous contribution to society and the economy.
The roundtable kicks off the theme for Carers Week 2019, the UK’s annual drive to raise awareness of caring, which takes place between 10th and 16th June 2019. Celebrating its 25th anniversary, Carers Week 2019 will receive headline sponsorship from British Gas, part of Centrica, and will focus on ‘Getting Carers Connected’ to important support services, advice and information as well as family and friends.