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NHS Digital survey finds financial problems caused by caring linked to increased feelings of social isolation

A new survey of 55,700 carers published today (3 August 2017) by NHS Digital found that almost 40% of carers who reported the most serious financial difficulties also felt socially isolated.

The Personal Social Services Survey of Adult Carers in England 2016-17 also found that:

  • 21% of carers surveyed have been providing unpaid care for over 20 years.
  • 71% of carers were extremely, very or quite satisfied with the support or services they received, compared to 13 per cent who were extremely, very or quite dissatisfied.
  • 90% of carers aged 85 and over (22,100) have caring responsibility for someone aged 75 or over.
  • Of all carers, 76% report ‘feeling tired’ and 64% report they experienced ‘disturbed sleep’ as a result of their caring role.
  • The average quality of life score for carers in England is 7.7 out of 12; carers who had a quality of life score lower than the national average are more likely to spend 50 hours a week or more on their caring responsibilities. The average quality of life score in the previous survey, in 2014-15, was 7.9. However, the population surveyed was different.

Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive at Alzheimer’s Society said: 'These figures yet again demonstrate the enormous reliance society has on the hundreds of thousands of unpaid carers of people with dementia. It shouldn’t be for dedicated family and friends alone to prop up a broken social care system, financially and physically supporting people with dementia, who would otherwise struggle to get the vital care they need.

'People have told us that caring for a loved one with dementia can feel like working three eight-hour shifts a day with no break. These people deserve access to good respite care, so they can get rest and relief they so desperately need. It’s unacceptable that so many of society’s unsung heroes are suffering financially and emotionally. Carers’ Allowance must be raised, at least to the level of Job Seeker’s Allowance, so people aren’t left financially crippled.  

'Years of ruthless cuts to social care budgets has led the dementia care system teetering on the brink of collapse. Social care reform must be bumped back to the top of the Government’s agenda. People with dementia and their loved ones can’t wait any longer.'

Read the full report Personal Social Services Survey of Adult Carers in England, 2016-17

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