William Eichler 25 February 2020

Carers of MS sufferers provide ‘35 hours or more’ of unpaid care a week

Family members and friends who are providing unpaid care to loved ones with multiple sclerosis are ‘not getting the support they need’, according to new research.

A study by the MS Society has found that of the 549 people who are caring for someone with the disease who responded to an online survey, one in three (34%) have had to give up work due to caring needs.

The charity also learnt that nearly all respondents (90%) said their health and wellbeing had been negatively impacted because of their caring role, yet only one in six people of working-age had been offered enough support to stay in employment.

Over 40% of the family and friends who responded to the survey said they are now providing 35 hours or more of unpaid care every week. This is the equivalent of a full time job for which a care worker would be paid on average £14,742.

One in six said they provide over 90 hours of care every week.

Fredi Cavander-Attwood, policy manager at the MS Society, said: ‘The adult social care system is under more pressure than ever and failing to provide the support older people, disabled adults and their families need.

‘Residents of the UK now have a 65% chance of providing unpaid care in their adult lives – massively impacting their employment prospects, financial stability, and health and wellbeing.

‘More than 130,000 people live with MS in the UK, and it shouldn’t be assumed that their family and friends can plug the gaps in our broken social care system. We need a fair, effective and properly funded care system across the UK so no one is forced to give up work to ensure their loved one gets proper support.’

A recent study by the charity Action for Children found that young carers spend on average 25 hours a week caring for loved ones – the equivalent of over £12,000 a year on a part-time carer’s wage.

Another analysis by the elderly persons charity Age UK has also revealed that some of the oldest in society save the health and care system £23bn a year by providing free care to loved ones.

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