More than 100,000 people are looking after a parent with cancer while also taking care of their own children, a new report reveals.
Macmillan Cancer Support has warned of the growing strain on what it describes as a ‘sandwich generation’ of carers - those caught between an ill parent and children.
A new report published by the charity, titled Under Pressure - The growing strain on cancer carers, found around 110,000 people in the UK are caring for a parent with cancer while simultaneously raising a family.
The charity Carers UK has welcomed the report and emphasised that there are many more carers forced to look after two generations of family members at the same time.
‘In raising awareness of the pressures facing people who are caring for a parent with cancer whilst also looking after their young children and often juggling work, Macmillan’s research highlights a far wider and deeper issue for carers who support loved ones across many conditions,’ said Emily Holzhausen, director of policy and public affairs at Carers UK.
‘Indeed, there are a staggering 2.4 million people who are sandwiched between raising families of their own whilst providing care to an older loved one with a disability or chronic illness.’
Ms Holzhausen also highlighted the fact it is mostly women who are put in this position.
‘It is women who are more likely to shoulder this responsibility, with our research showing that they are four times more likely than men to have given up work due to multiple caring responsibilities,’ she said.
‘Without the right support at the right time, caring can take a serious toll on carers’ health, finances and ability to have a life outside of caring,’ Ms Holzhausen added.
‘With this in mind, the Government must use the opportunity of its new Carers Strategy to make lasting change in the way public services and workplaces support families.’
The consultation for the Government’s Carers Strategy was open this year from March until July.
It stated: ‘Caring for others should not be to the detriment of the carer’s own health and wellbeing and carers can receive support in a number of ways – including from social services, the NHS, or the benefit system.’