Carers struggle with mental and physical health

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New research released for Carers Week 2018 has shown that many carers fear for the future

11th June 2018 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

Unpaid carers need urgent support to ensure they remain healthy enough to care for their loved ones.

Several charities have come together to highlight the vital role that unpaid carers play, and the importance of ensuring they remain both mentally and physically healthy.

New research released to mark Carers Week, which runs throughout this week, has shown that three quarters of carers in Scotland feel they have suffered poor mental health as a result of caring.

The study, commissioned by Carers Scotland, also found that 56% of those questioned also felt their physical health had worsened.

Nearly half (48%) of Scottish carers said that they expect to be able to provide less care or no care in the future because of poor physical health. This is higher than in the UK as a whole, where the average was 43%.

Two in five of carers in Scotland (40%) felt that poor mental health would mean they will be able to provide less or no care in the future.

Carers named the main issues contributing most to their stress and anxiety as not getting enough sleep, providing hands on care for the person they care for, and managing financially.

The Carers Week charities are calling on communities, health care professionals, employers, and the wider public to support carers to get connected to health and wellbeing services and support.

The week-long celebration of the enormous contribution that unpaid carers make to our communities will also see hundreds of awareness-raising events taking place across Scotland.

Age UK, Carers Trust Scotland, Independent Age, Macmillan Cancer Support, Motor Neurone Disease Association, MS Society Scotland and Which? Elderly Care have all backed the Carers Week call.

Simon Hodgson, director of Carers Scotland, said the charities were warning that carers in Scotland won’t be healthy enough to help loved ones in the future unless support is improved for them.

He said: “This new research is a stark reminder that the enormous contribution made by Scotland’s 759,000 unpaid carers must not be taken for granted. Without the unpaid care provided every year by family and friends, our health and care services would collapse. Yet the physical and mental strain of caring, without enough support, is jeopardising carers’ ability to care in the future.

“Caring for a loved one too often means carers neglect their own mental and physical health; finding the time and space to be healthy, get enough sleep  and maintain relationships with others are all huge challenges identified by carers. Being left unprepared for carrying out care tasks and battling with a complex health, benefits and care system are piling yet more stress onto carers.”