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10 June 2014

Carers plea for earlier support

New research for Carers Week 2014 (9 - 15 June) suggests that the nation’s carers are struggling behind closed doors without adequate help or advice. A poll showed only 1 in 3 (33%) carers say they receive enough support to do the role well. This fell to a shocking 1 in 4 (27%) amongst women who were caring.

When asked what would make it possible for them to do their caring role well, the top choice from 7 in 10 (69%) carers was to know exactly what help they could get, right from the start.

Caring for people with epilepsy

Caring is an issue which also concerns Epilepsy Society. Our 'Connecting with carers' report of 2012, showed needs of carers of people with epilepsy were being completely underestimated. The report, funded by the Department of Health, was the first to address why caring for someone with epilepsy is different to caring for people with other long term conditions.

Said Amanda Cleaver, the charity's communications and campaigns manager: ' What became clear from our research is that epilepsy is a condition that poses unique challenges to carers.

Carers Week 2014

The Carers Week charities say that ‘hidden carers’ – families often caring round the clock without help or advice – must be a priority for the NHS and social care services. Carers’ also stated that financial support as they face additional costs from caring and often reduced earnings from giving up paid work, and support from their GPs would help them do their role well.

Speaking on behalf of the nine charities behind Carers Week 2014 (opens new window), Heléna Herklots, Chief Executive of Carers UK said: 'Without the right support caring can quickly lead to crisis and we hear from too many carers struggling under the emotional, physical and financial strain of caring The reality is that all of us, at some point in our lives, will either be carers or need the help of carers. This survey is a wake-up call, clearly and alarmingly showing that as a society we need a much wider understanding of the realities of caring.'

Caring in the future

Across the UK today 6.5 million – 1 in 8 adults – are caring for a loved one who is older, seriously ill or disabled. With an ageing population and people able to live longer with disability and illness, this number is rising fast and in just over 20 years the numbers caring for family and friends is set to reach 9 million.

Findings of the Carers Week/You Gov poll also show that adults of all ages drastically underestimate the issue.

Only a tiny fraction (9%) of the nation correctly stating the true scale of unpaid, family care and most adults did not think caring will happen to them. Less than a third of adults who are currently not carers (29%) believe it likely they will become carers in the future, the survey found.