If you’re helping to look after an elderly relative, then you’re not alone: there are estimated to be as many as 5 million amateur carers in the UK. But it can often feel like you very much are alone. Unsupported, under-appreciated, under pressure. This was the recurring feedback we got when we undertook the first definitive research into the situations and mindsets of Britain’s familial carers.
The findings reveal a troubling picture of carers who are juggling the needs of their elderly relatives with those of their own children, their careers, their relationships – and their own mental health. And they are desperately worried about dropping one of those balls. Many are neglecting their own well-being as they struggle to meet the care demands they face.
This is simply not sustainable. Something has to change.
Martin Jones MBE, Home Instead UK and International CEO said:
“It’s impossible to think of a group that does more for less in this country than family carers – yet their wellbeing is almost entirely neglected.
“Younger families receive state support in the form of subsidised childcare or paid maternity and paternity leave. But those who are 20-30 years older, and who are often supporting both younger and older dependents, are almost completely neglected.
“As a society, we rely on their unending energy and love, giving them little or no support to navigate the complex social care system. They get no breaks, no help, little financial support and, as our research shows, this is taking a huge toll. Their mental health is at a dangerous low. They struggle to keep going and significant numbers are at breaking point.”