It’s estimated that there are 6.5 million carers in the UK at present, caring for elderly, frail, ill or disabled family members or friends – that’s 1 in 8 adults at present who provide unpaid care to someone. This number is predicted to increase to 9 million by 2037. In their 2013 survey of 2,100 carers, Carers Week found that 75% of carers felt they were not prepared for all aspects of caring, with an even higher percentage unprepared for the emotional impact that caring would have on them. Giving up work or reduced hours, reduced income, and relationship breakdowns were all found to have happened to carers as a result of their caring activities.
Self-identification as a carer is the important first step in realising the need for support. In the 2013 Prepared to Care report, social care professionals were the third most popular answer when carers were asked who first helped them identify themselves as carers, with health professionals at number 5. So, could there be an opportunity for health and social care professionals to reach more carers in the early stages of their caring life?
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