Two in five unpaid carers are sacrificing their own health by putting off medical treatment to care for an ill, frail or disabled loved one, a survey has found.
The survey, completed by 3,400 carers, also showed that caring had a negative impact on 83 per cent of carers’ physical health, with 36 per cent of carers sustaining a physical injury (such as back pain) through caring.
A further 87 per cent said caring for a family member or friend has had a negative impact on their mental health. Almost two-thirds of carers (64 per cent) blamed their poor health on a lack of practical support and 50 per cent on not enough financial support.
The survey was carried out by eight charities, including Age UK and Carers UK, which have come together under the umbrella of Carers Week which falls this week.
The charities said that the survey provided further evidence of a growing care crisis and are calling for better financial and practical support for the 6.4 million unpaid carers in the UK, so they can look after their health and well-being. Carers Week is calling for sustainable social care funding, better signposting and access to support services and for regular health checks to be offered to carers.
Carers Week Manager Helen Clarke says: “It’s a scandal that carers can’t get the time or support they need to look after themselves which could be jeopardising their health as a result. Carers are feeling the strain of a woefully underfunded system and still we’re seeing more cuts. Unpaid carers save the Government a fortune - £119 billion a year, yet they’re let down in return. It is time for urgent action to tackle the crisis in social care.”