Older carers suffer ill health says report

Older carers often experience ill health

A survey conducted by the Princess Royal Trust for Carers has revealed that many older carers suffer with ill health because of their caring responsibilities.

More than 600 carers aged over 60 took part in the charity’s survey, with almost 70% reporting that they have neglected their own health as they are so focused on the wellbeing of their relative.  Some carers have even cancelled operations as they were worried they would not be able to care for their loved one whilst recovering from surgery.

The Princess Royal Trust has now called for GPs to give more support to older carers, including an annual health check and screening for depression. The charity’s policy director, Moira Fraser, said: “Carers want to look after friends or family members – but often it’s at the expense of their own health. “We heard about people with crumbling spines, heart problems and cancer. Sometimes people’s knees are so worn out they feel as though they can’t walk at the end of each day. Others suffer from mental problems – such as stress and exhaustion. They worry about the future and have feelings of hopelessness.”

Alice O’Hara, 63, from Glasgow, cares for her mother, Mary, 89, who has dementia. Ms O’Hara said: “I’ve got arthritis myself and my health has got worse over the last year. Caring makes me feel worn out and stressed and it stops me doing what I want to do.”