“No choice but to care” report launches

Carers Trust, along with 8 other charities who organise Carers Week commissioned YouGov to carry out a survey of the public, including adults who are currently providing unpaid care. Their findings were published during Carers Week in their No Choice but to care report.

The Reality of Caring

According to a YouGov poll, nearly 6,500 people shared their experiences, revealing some eye-opening statistics. 62% Of carers had no choice but to take on their role due to a lack of available care options, this translates to 10 million people across the UK.

  • Mental Health: 63% of carers surveyed, said that caring had took a toll on their mental health. The constant worry and emotional strain can be overwhelming, leading to anxiety and depression.
  • Physical Health: The physical demands of caregiving are relentless. More than half (53%) of carers report negative impacts on their physical health. For many this means chronic back pain and fatigue, common issues among those providing extensive care.
  • Financial Strain: Juggling caregiving with employment is another challenge. Nearly half (47%) of carers, have faced financial difficulties due to reduced work hours or even job loss. This financial strain can lead to depleted savings and increased stress.
Click the image to read the full report

The amount of unpaid care being provided is increasing with 1.5 million people in England and Wales now caring over 50 hours a week. The report highlights that while providing unpaid care can be rewarding, it also comes with significant negative impacts on carers’ lives, affecting employment, finances and savings, and physical and mental health.

The low level of carer benefit, inadequate structures to support carers to stay in paid work, as well as a lack of time to take a break or to look after their own wellbeing, means that unpaid carers often face lower financial resilience, fewer opportunities to continue with their career as well as a worsening of their physical and mental health.

The general public is increasingly aware of the challenges faced by carers. A second YouGov poll revealed that 73% of people believe the next government should provide more support for unpaid carers. To address these challenges, the report outlines several recommendations which include creating a dedicated financial support fund for carers in need, providing additional mental health resources and counselling, enhancing social care services to offer more respite opportunities, and implementing legal rights for carers to access regular breaks​​. 

The economic contribution of unpaid carers is immense, estimated at £162 billion annually—equivalent to the cost of the NHS. This staggering figure underscores the vital role carers play in our society and the urgent need for better support systems. As we continue to advocate for better support and recognition, we hope this summary gives you a sense of the broader picture and reinforces that you are not alone.

Related Adult Carer

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Raising awareness with BBC Radio WM

Our own Pauline Manby shared with Merisha Stevenson of BBC Radio WM, the work we do to help support and raise awareness for unpaid carers. Watch the segment here.

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