Older carers have been ‘forgotten’ by authorities despite them bearing the brunt of the pandemic, a charity has warned today.
Age UK said over one million carers aged 70 or over have been negatively affected by coronavirus due to a reduction in care services.
It found that home care packages of support have been cancelled for many older carer during the pandemic, forcing them to take on more caring responsibilities. It argues this has left them feeling forgotten and at breaking point.
A survey for the charity reveals that 70% of unpaid carers said the negative impacts of caring on physical and mental health was one of the biggest challenges faced by unpaid carers as a group.
Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, said: ‘It’s essential that the Government prioritises our care services for PPE and tests, and provides essential funding so that unpaid carers can at least get a break, through the good offices of day centres and other community services, once it’s safe for these to reopen.
‘It’s time now for Government to finally refinance and reform social care. The prime minister has promised to fix care and now he needs to follow through, with no more excuses or delays - surely it’s the least our brilliant older carers deserve.’
The Local Government Association (LGA) said the care system could not survive without the contribution of unpaid carers.
Cllr Ian Hudspeth, chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: ‘Unpaid caring can be extremely rewarding but we know it can also be a real strain – emotionally, physically and financially, especially during this pandemic, which is why councils are committed to doing all they can to support them.
’Pressures just to maintain existing standards of care and support continue to rise and this is why we need a long-term, sustainable solution for adult social care as soon as possible.’