New survey from National Accident Helpline echoes charity’s own research
National disabled people’s charity Revitalise is calling for better respite provision for disabled people and carers in order to prevent the breakdown of the caring relationship, in response to new findings released by National Accident Helpline.
Revitalise is working in partnership with National Accident Helpline on the ‘Accidental Carers’ campaign and is backing the company’s independent research findings with the results of its own carer surveys.
The two organisations’ research paints a stark picture of the daily lives of unpaid family carers and the barriers that are preventing them from accessing essential respite breaks for themselves and their loved ones.
Among the many findings on which Revitalise and National Accident Helpline’s research agree completely is that a third of carers have never had any significant time away since they started caring and that for the same proportion, guilt was a huge barrier holding them back.
The organisations’ studies found that over a third of carers have passed up on the opportunity for respite due to the feelings of guilt at leaving their loved ones in the care of others. Revitalise is suggesting that this points to a lack of confidence on the part of carers in the quality of respite opportunities currently available.
The impact of a lack of time off on the emotional and physical wellbeing of carers was also clearly highlighted by Revitalise’s own research, which found that 6 out of 10 carers put the health of their loved one ahead of their own. A third (32%) admitted that they sometimes felt depressed and/or resentful at being a carer and that sometimes they lost patience or got angry at the person they cared for (34%).
A previous Carers UK survey found that three quarters (74%) of unpaid carers have reached breaking point due to the pressures of their caring role. Tellingly, half of all the carers surveyed said that having a break would or did help when they were at breaking point.
The UK’s army of unpaid carers, currently numbering around 6.5 million, is increasing at a rate of 6,000 people each day. By 2037 the number of unpaid carers in the UK is expected to have soared to nine million. Unpaid carers save the economy an estimated £119 billion per year, an average of £18,473 per carer.
In the light of the research, Revitalise is calling for much more to be done to support unpaid family carers, especially in terms of regular respite from caring. The charity is urging social care decision makers to pay more attention to the fundamental issues of quality and choice in respite care in order to alleviate carers’ guilt at taking respite breaks from caring and help prevent the breakdown of the caring relationship.