Dramatic rise in unpaid carers

The number of people providing unpaid care for disabled, sick or elderly relatives and loved ones has risen dramatically in the last decade, new data has revealed.

According to census statistics, the number of carers in England and Wales increased from 5.2 million to 5.8 million between 2001 and 2011.  The greatest rise was among those providing more than 20 hours of care a week, where figures rose to a staggering 2.1 million people  – over half a million more than 10 years ago.

Worryingly, this time period signifies the point at which caring starts to significantly impact on the health and wellbeing of the carer, and their ability to hold down paid employment alongside caring responsibilities.

Helena Herklots, Chief Executive of  Carers UK, said “The Census 2011 results show that caring is a growing issue as our population changes and ages.  An increase of 11 per cent in carer numbers is a really significant rise”

In terms of regions, Wales showed the highest percentage rise of 12 per cent.

A person is classed as providing unpaid care if if they look after, or give help or support, to family members, friends, neighbours or others because of long-term physical or mental illness or disability or problems related to old age.

Carers save the economy a staggering £119 billion each year.  Despite this, Carer’s Allowance is £58.45 for a minimum of 35 hours a week.  This is equivalent to £1.67 an hour.

Taken from Mature Times, January 2013