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Half of carers 'made ill by job'


The role of looking after a friend or relative is causing health problems among half of carers, a report has claimed.

According to a study conducted by the NHS Information Centre, stress affects a third of carers, while a quarter suffer from interrupted sleep or are struggling to sleep.

Out of the 2,400 carers in England who were questioned, one in three said they felt tired after looking after a friend or relative, and over one in five said they were short-tempered or irritable.

The study also shows that caring has a negative effect on relationships, social life and leisure time for 40% of respondents. Almost a third of these said they were too tired to go out, and one in four said they were unable to take a holiday.

Some 60% of people said they thought the amount of time they spent caring for a friend or relative would rise over the next five years.

And while four out of five people surveyed said their quality of life was good, this fell among those spending 20 hours or more caring and those who looked after someone at home.

Just over a quarter of carers of working age said their role negatively affected their employment chances and less than 20% were aware they could request flexible working hours.

Just 11% said they get the carer’s allowance, a maximum of £53.90 per week, which is only for people caring for 35 or more hours per week. Of these, the percentage receiving the allowance rises to just under a quarter.

Around one in four said they had cared for the same person for at least a decade, while just under 10% had been caring for more than 20 years.

There are an estimated five million carers in England.


Readers' comments (4)

  • I care for my hubby who has mental health problems as well as having a full time nursing job. I get no help nor support from anyone. I havent the time to join carers groups or attend "meetings" simply because my hours are so erratic and stressful at work. His mental health team only see him once every two months; as long as he doesnt try and kill himself then his psychiatrist thinks thats fine.
    I dont make the "35 hrs" criteria, but at after a 37.5hr working week, I need time to myself to wind down.
    Sorry about the rant; but mental health care is non existent.

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  • Very similar to Dementia my mum has dementia she has home care daily but my brother and myself care for her as well i am down at her home early each morning i do all the shopping the cleaning at the weekend,
    sometimes i am so tired i dont know what to do next i work full time hours
    mum is getting more and more abusive towards myself and brother and recently has started lashing out sometimes without warning
    what worries me is news that homecare are cutting services how on earth will we manage ?

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  • Care in the community is nothing more than a token jesture due to lack of funding, it is all or nothing. If a family want ot help or do the majority of care repite care is like gold. However no one in thier right mind would any one they love to be in the hands of social care. Those doing the care are poorly paid and over worked. An aunt of mine had care at home which included someone getting her meals, on somedays all three meals were given within 2 hours of each other and she was in bed for the night by 6 pm.

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  • what is the point of all these stupid surveys. they only come up with obvious answers but nothing ever changes or improves? Some action would be of more benefit to those involved instead of all this continual intrusive questioning to keep social scientists and civil services in paid employment.

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