ONS Data Release: New Data Shows The Number Of Unpaid Carers Has Almost Doubled Over The Last 10 Years To Over 10 Million In The UK

The number of unpaid carers across the UK providing care for older, disabled or seriously ill relatives has almost doubled over the last 10 years, according to new research released today by the ONS.

Data from the 2011 Census has revealed that there were approximately 5.6 million unpaid carers aged 18 years and over (about 13% of the population), compared to the latest figures from Carers UK, which found an estimated 10.58 million carers in 2022.

One in five adults are now providing unpaid care for a relative or friend. It’s shocking to see that the number of unpaid carers has almost doubled over the last 10 years, with limited support provided by the Government and workplaces”, shares Seniorcare by Lottie Lead Ronan Harvey-Kelly.

We’re at the tipping point of an unpaid carers’ crisis, exacerbated by the pandemic and now cost-of-living increases. An ageing population means more people are living longer, and many of us have found ourselves caring for a friend or relative who are no longer able to live on their own.

 New research from Seniorcare by Lottie has found a surge in online searches from carers across the UK – who look after an elderly parent – sharing their mental health struggles.

 Whether you’re juggling full-time work alongside your caregiving duties, or you’re an unpaid carer for your loved one, you’re more likely to experience stress, burnout, and depression.

 Over the last 12 months, more carers turned to Google to seek emotional support than ever before:

The UK’s Care-Giving Crisis: Here are The On-Going Challenges Facing Those Caring for An Elderly Relative – According to Lottie’s Seniorcare Lead – Ronan Harvey-Kelly:  

  1. Higher levels of stress

As a carer, it’s understandable to be focused on your elderly loved one. However, you may not realise that your own wellbeing is suffering.

Too much stress – over a long period of time – can negatively affect your health and wellbeing. Watch out for signs of feeling overwhelmed, constantly worried and becoming easily irritated.

  1. Increased risk of burnout

Taking care of your own wellbeing isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity. Too much stress over time can build up and lead to burnout, a mental health condition that causes exhaustion, feeling helpless and procrastination.

To protect your own wellbeing, look out for these tell-tale signs of caregiver burnout. Symptoms of burnout will vary; however, you may seem exhausted, dis-engaged, and the inability to concentrate. 

  1. Financial worry 

Since late 2021, the UK has experienced several changes, leading to rising costs for everyone. Consumer price inflation has continued to rise to its highest level in almost 30 years, and this has had a huge impact on unpaid carers.

Family caregiving can have a big impact on your personal finances. For example, you may have to financially support an elderly loved one or take unpaid leave to accommodate any elderly care needs.

Many caregivers may also neglect planning for their own retirement as they care for an elderly relative, which can leave working carers feeling stressed, worried, and anxious about money. 

  1. Women are more likely to experience the impact 

A huge portion of later life care is provided by unpaid family carers – mostly women.

Caring for an elderly relative can get increasingly difficult to balance with working lives as we get older, and by the age of 65, less than a third of women are still in employment.

What support is available for unpaid carers?

  1. Financial help

You may be entitled to certain benefits paid for by the Government, including a carer’s allowance. This could relieve some of the pressure and worry facing those caring for an elderly relative. It’s worth checking via a benefits calculator, as you may also be able to claim for support with your council tax or help with fuel costs.

  1. Practical support

Caring for an elderly parent can be very rewarding, but it can be a challenge and leave you feeling overwhelmed. All carers are entitled to a carer’s assessment from their local council, so you may be able to ask for additional support (especially if you’re a working carer), or any equipment to make caring for your loved one easier.

Alternatively, if your elderly parent requires round-the-clock support and you’re unable to provide this, you can browse local care homes that offer nursing or residential care.

3. Confide in those around you 

It’s understandable to feel isolated and lonely but opening up about how you’re feeling can be a huge relief. Your close friends or family may be able to support you and help with caring for your elderly parent, to alleviate some pressure off you.

Alternatively, you may find it helpful to connect with those in similar situations. A quick search online will show you any local support groups for you to attend.

About Lisa Baker, Editor, Wellbeing News 4246 Articles
Editor Lisa Baker is passionate about the benefits of a holistic approach to healing. Lisa is a qualified Vibrational Therapist and has qualifications in Auricular Therapy, Massage, Kinesiology, Crystal Healing, Seichem and is a Reiki Master.