Caring behind closed doors
Carers UK has just released ‘Caring Behind Closed Doors: 6 months on’ – a report based on an online survey of almost 6,000 unpaid carers. This survey looked at the impact of caring on carers’ lives over the first 6 months of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Not only has Covid-19 added another estimated 4.5 million new unpaid carers to the 9.1 million carers identified pre-pandemic, it has also increased the amount of care that carers have to give. 81% of carers reported that they were providing more care than pre-pandemic, putting up their caring time from an average of 55 hours a week to 65 hours a week. This increased level of caring responsibility has had a negative effect on carers’ lives, affecting their emotional and physical health, ability to work, and financial situations.
Almost two thirds of carers say that their mental health has worsened as a result of the pandemic with many reporting feeling exhausted and close to breaking point. With winter ahead and the current increase in infections and lockdown measures, this survey shows that many carers have escalating levels of stress and anxiety – not helped by respite care being less available.
The report found some positive points based on innovations in technology, with a few carers appreciating a slower pace of life during lockdown. However the vast majority of unpaid carers have found life significantly more difficult.