Carers Wales blog post: Carers Week (11-17 June 2018):  The physical and mental strain of caring “jeopardising” unpaid carers’ ability to care in the future in Wales

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

Lack of sleep, performing care tasks and filling in forms for financial or practical support named as top stressors by unpaid carers.

The Carers Week 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 (74%) of carers in Wales 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, charities are warning that the carers in Wales won’t be healthy enough to care for loved ones in the future.

Carers worry about coping in the future

The research shows:

  • Over half of carers in Wales said they expect their physical (55%) and mental (57%) health and well-being to get worse in the next two years.
  • Over two in five (45%) carers said that they expect to be be able to provide less care or no care in the future because of poor physical health.
  • Over one third of carers (37%) felt that poor mental health would mean they will be able to provide less or no care in the future.

Main stressors for carers

Carers were most likely to say that the impact of stress and anxiety on their own health was their main worry about the impact of caring on their own health and wellbeing.

Carers named the main stressors contributing most to their stress and anxiety as not getting enough sleep, providing hands on care for the person they care for, and filling in forms for financial or practical support for themselves or the person they care for.

Claire Morgan, on behalf of Carers Week, said:

“This new research is a stark reminder that the enormous contribution made by Wales’s 370,000 unpaid carers.  They must not be taken for granted. Without the unpaid care provided every year by family and friends, our health and care services would collapse. Yet the physical and mental strain of caring, without enough support, is jeopardising carers’ ability to care in the future.

Caring for a loved one all too often means that carers neglect their own mental and physical health.  Finding the time and space to be healthy, get enough sleep and maintain relationships with others are all huge challenges identified by carers. Being left unprepared for carrying out care tasks and  battling with a complex health, benefits and social care system are piling yet more stress on to carers.

We can all act to ensure carers know about and access help and support as early as possible in their caring journey.

There is a key role for Government too.  Welsh Government must ensure that local councils across Wales are fulfilling their legal duties under the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act.  Councils must identify carers and provide  appropriate information and advice to support to enable them to look after their own health and well-being”.

This year the Carers Week charities are calling on communities, health care professionals, employers, and the wider public to support carers to get connected to health and wellbeing services and support. The week-long celebration of the enormous contribution that unpaid carers make to our communities is also a time of intensive local activity, with hundreds of awareness-raising events taking place right across the UK.

Carers Week 2018 is made possible by Carers UK working together with Age UK, Carers Trust, Independent Age, Macmillan Cancer Support, Motor Neurone Disease Association, MS Society and Which? Elderly Care, and kindly supported by Nutricia Advanced Medical Nutrition. For more information, visit: www.carersweek.org

 

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