Stress and health problems among carers on the rise as care cuts take their toll

Over half of carers have experienced depression and four in ten are cutting back on essentials to make ends meet, finds Carers UK

Picture posed by models: Design Pics Inc/Rex Features

Poor health and stress levels among carers appear to be on the rise as care cuts and benefit cuts take their toll, Carers UK has warned.

Its annual survey of carers has found that levels stress, anxiety and depression reported by respondents were higher now than in previous years.

The State of Caring 2015 report, based on the views and experiences of over 4,500 carers, found that:-

  • 80% of carers reported that caring has had a negative impact on their health, compared with 78.5% in 2012;
  • 84% said they feel more stressed as a result of their caring role, up from 82% in 2014;
  • 78% of carers say they feel more anxious as a result of their caring role, up from 73% in 2014
  • 55% of carers have experienced depression as a result of their role, up from 50% in 2014;

One carer who took part in the survey said:

“The last full night’s sleep I had was in 2009. I have torn ligaments in my leg and I’ve damaged my back and both knees. I’m mentally exhausted and depressed, very isolated and lonely.”

Cuts impact

The survey revealed that significant numbers of carers had been on the receiving end of care cuts. Of the third of respondents to have experienced a change in the level of care and support received by themselves or the person they cared for, 42% had seen a reduction in support from social services, 12% had cut back on care because of increased costs and 13% had seen services closed without replacement.

The survey also found that 48% of carers were struggling to make ends meet, with 41% of this group cutting back on essentials such as food or heating, 26% borrowing from family or friends and 38% dipping into their savings.

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