Just 8% of carers feel that they currently recieve sufficient breaks from caring, according to new figures released by the national charity, Carers UK.
One-third of carers said they would use a break from caring to attend their own medical appointments, while more than 50% of the carers interviewed (52%) said they would use their break to be able to see other family and friends.
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These shocking figures come from the Carers UK ‘Give Us A Break’ campaign, which says “Carers have a right to have a life alongside their caring responsibilities and they need to be able to take time for themselves and to look after their own mental and physical health.”
Carers UK estimate that the total number of adult carers in England may be as high as 7.3 million people, meaning 1 in 6 of the adult population could be providing care to a relative or friend – and yet, despite these high numbers, 3 in 4 carers reportedly feel that their caring role is misunderstood and undervalued by their community.
Helen Walker, Chief Executive of Carers UK, said “Having a break is a fundamental partof human life and human rights. Can you imagine, as a worker, never having time off? It can feel like that as a carer if you don’t get the right support.
“Increasingly squeezed local authority budgets and unprecedented funding pressures on social care mean that many carers are left without support.”
Recommendations following these findings include doubling funding for carers’ breaks from £130 million to £260 million in 2020/21. Furthermore, Carers UK is advising local authorities to make breaks a key part of their preventive work, and at the heart of the healthy and social care system.
With 69% of carers saying that the ability to have a break from caring has had a positive impact, it’s clear to see that more support structures are needed to help the growing community of unpaid and paid carers.
Read the full Give Carers A Break: Carers At Breaking Point 2019 report.
What you can do to help:
While the report suggests changes need to be made by the government to give unpaid carers more funding and therefore more support, there are things we can do as family members, friends, and employers to help the carers in our community right now.
This can include offering to do chores like food shopping or even just providing a listening ear. Read our article on ways you can help provide respite for carers for more ideas.
Being a carer is hard work, and at Surewise our key initiative is to help our customers live confidently. We provide monthly and annual carers insurance to cover you against the unexpected incidents that can occur around the workplace.
Click here to find out more and get a quote today.