A carer is anyone who cares, unpaid, for a friend or family member who due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction cannot cope without their support.
Anyone could be a carer – a 15-year-old girl looking after a parent with an alcohol problem, a 40-year-old man caring for his partner who has terminal cancer, or an 80-year-old woman looking after her husband who has Alzheimer’s disease.
How does caring affect your life?
Although for many carers, caring can have positive and rewarding aspects, there are lots of reasons why caring can also leave you needing support.
Caring can have an impact on many aspects of your life — below we cover some of these topics, and how and where you can access support and information.
Money and benefits
- Caring can lead to poverty if you have to give up work to care or are managing on benefits. The aid and equipment needed to help care can add an extra drain on tight finances.
- Carers in poverty will not be able to afford do the things that many of us take for granted, such as buying new or warm clothes, heating the house, house repairs, going on holiday or a short break, running a car or paying a bus fare.
- Becoming a carer can feel like a constant battle to access help for you and the person you care for, for example getting the right diagnosis for your child’s condition, appropriate support at school for a young carer in your family, adaptations to the home, and benefits and other financial help
Facts and Figures
1 in 8 adults (around 6.5 million people) are carers
- Every day another 6,000 people take on a caring responsibility – that equals over 2 million people each year.
- 58% of carers are women and 42% are men.
- 1.4 million people provide over 50 hours of care per week.
- Over 1 million people care for more than one person
Carers save the economy £132 billion per year, an average of £19,336 per carer
- 5 million people in the UK are juggling caring responsibilities with work – that’s 1 in 7 of the workforce.
- However, the significant demands of caring mean that 600 people give up work every day to care for an older or disabled relative.
- Carer’s Allowance is the main carer’s benefit and is £67.60 for a minimum of 35 hours, the lowest benefit of its kind.
- As of 2020, Carers UK estimates there are around 13.6 million people caring through the pandemic.
People providing high levels of care are twice as likely to be permanently sick or disabled
- 72% of carers responding to Carers UK’s State of Caring 2018 Survey said they had suffered mental ill health as a result of caring.
- 61% said they had suffered physical ill health as a result of caring.
- 8 in 10 people caring for loved ones say they have felt lonely or socially isolated.
A young carer is someone under 18 who looks after a parent or another family member. They take on physical and emotional duties that adults usually handle. It can feel scary and isolating.
Young carers often do more chores than other young people. On top of providing emotional support to the person they are caring for, they may also have to learn how to nurse them or look after their personal needs like bathing and dressing.
It can be hard work being a young carer. Sometimes others might not understand your responsibilities and you have less free time than others.
Many young people cope well with caring, especially if you have support from other family members, but it’s still important to look after yourself. You have the right to be looked after too and there are lots of places and people you can go to to get help.
Facts and Figures
Young carers are often overlooked.
Child carers provide vital support for their loved ones, whether this is for physical or mental health problems. However, their own mental health is often overlooked.
Before the pandemic, over one third of young carers reported having a mental health problem. During the pandemic this is likely to have got worse with over half saying they could not take a break from caring.
- 800,000 young carers aged 5-17 care for an adult or family member in England
- 27% of young carers aged 11-15 miss school
- 1 in 3 young carers have mental health issues
- 80% of young careers felt more isolated during the pandemic
For further information please visit the following websites: