Unpaid carers are not ‘sufficiently’ valued, the public says as figures reveal unpaid care work is worth an estimated £132bn a year.
A new online YouGov poll published today for the start of Carers Week has revealed more than seven in 10 (74%) of the UK public feel carers are not sufficiently valued by society for the support they provide.
AThis figure rises to just over eight in 10 (83%) of those who have previous experience of caring themselves.
AMore than 6.5 million people in the UK are currently providing care for an older, disabled or seriously ill loved one, with an estimated 6000 people taking on a caring role each day. One in five people aged 50-64 are carers.
ADespite the rapid increase in the number of unpaid carers in the country, half of those who are not currently carers (50%) thought it unlikely they would ever become a carer.
AAccording to YouGov’s findings, those with no experience of being a carer but facing the prospect of taking on a caring role cited affordability of care and the impact on their finances as their top worry (46%). Coping with the stress of caring (43%) is the second biggest worry.
ANearly a third who have never cared for someone (32%) said they would worry they didn’t have the skills or experience to become a carer and more than a quarter (26%) said they would worry about the impact of caring on their physical health.
AThe poll, conducted on behalf of eight major charities, also found carers providing 50 hours or more a week of care are more than twice as likely to be in bad health as non-carers.
AAlmost a quarter of those polled who have never cared (23%) would not know or understand what help would be available if they became a carer.
A‘The Carers Week charities seek to raise awareness of the huge contribution that carers are making every day to the lives of the family and friends they support and to their communities,’ said Heléna Herklots on behalf of Carers Week.
A‘In Carers Week we’re calling on the public, government and all parts of society to play their part in supporting carers by helping to build communities that recognise and understand the value and needs of carers.
A‘From hospitals that provide discounts for carers in their cafés, or workplaces that give employees paid leave for caring; to offering to shop for a friend who struggles to get out of the house, there are hundreds of small changes we can make to ensure our communities become more carer friendly.’
A‘We urge our new Government to do more to value and recognise the contribution made by the UK’s 6.5 million unpaid carers and urgently set out its plans by publishing a strategy for carers,’ she continued.
A‘As a society we depend on unpaid carers – it’s time we had a plan for how to better recognise and support them.’