The Reality of Family Caring

There is a worrying lack of public awareness about the growing call on families to provide unpaid care, recent research has found.

The survey, which was published by charity Carers UK to mark Carers Week 2014, says that there is an invisible army in the UK caring for increasing numbers of older, ill or disabled family members. However, many of these carers are struggling without support, and there are huge gaps in national understanding of this growing social issue.

The reality is that 6.5 million people, or one in eight adults, are already caring for a family member or close friend who is frail or facing long-term illness or disability. These numbers are predicted to rise to nine million by 2037, but most adults don’t think caring will happen to them. Less than a third of adults who are currently not carers believe they are likely to become carers in the future, the survey found.

“The reality is that all of us, at some point in our lives, will either be carers or need the help of carers,” commented Heléna Herklots, Chief Executive of Carers UK. “This survey is a wake-up call, clearly and alarmingly showing that as a society we need a much wider understanding of the realities of caring.”

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