Carers reaching ‘breaking point’ due to lack of time off

Unpaid carers are reaching ‘breaking point’ as they struggle to take even a day away from care responsibilities for years at a time, research has found. 

40 per cent of those who care for loved ones have not had a break in over a year, and 25 per cent had not received a single day away from caring in five years.

The report by the charity Carer’s UK, called State of Caring 2017, found that carers most frequently listed access to breaks as one of three factors which could make a difference in their lives.

Respondents explained their own personal reasons for needing a break, listing diverse benefits ranging from the opportunity to spend time with partners and children to being able to see a doctor for their own health conditions. Yet few are able to take regular breaks, with only 16 per cent of carers currently buying or receiving a break from caring in the form of services such as respite or alternative care provisions.

Carers who had not had a break in a year or more reported a deterioration in their health, both mentally and physically.

The research also charts a growing anxiety around the level of support that will be available against a backdrop of cuts to adult social care services.

Heléna Herklots CBE, Chief Executive of Carers UK, said:The need for an action plan from the Government on how they will improve support to carers is now urgent… getting some time away from caring to spend time with a partner, get to a medical appointment or just get a full night’s sleep surely isn’t too much to ask.”

 

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Last medically reviewed: July, 2017 • July, 2020