Population Outcome: Family carers in Suffolk and North East Essex Live Well
People in Suffolk and North East Essex should have the same opportunity of good health and wellbeing, dignity and respect regardless of their circumstances, and this should include people of all ages who are providing unpaid care, who currently have poorer mental wellbeing and are more affected by the socio-economic determinants of health.
Data about Unpaid Carers
- 3 in 5 people will be carers at some point in their lives – more than 600,000 people in SNEE
- The 2011 Census found that 6.5 million people in the UK were carers and numbers are growing – In 2019, using population projections from the ONS and polling by Carers UK, it was estimated that had risen to 8.8 million adults
- The 2019 GP Patient survey found that 17% of the population in England over the age of 16 are carers
Nearly three in five carers in England and Wales are aged 50 years and over, and one in five people aged 50 to 69 years are informal carers – this is the most common age group for having caring responsibilities
- Carers are more likely to be female – 57.7 % unpaid carers females and 42.3 % males
- Carers are less likely to work than non-carers overall, – this is skewed by men – almost one in four (24%) female workers are also carers, compared with just over one in eight (13%) male workers.
- Male carers are more likely than women to care for a spouse – Over two-thirds of men caring for a spouse are in work
- Carers UK estimate that they contribute £132 billion of unpaid care per year
The Story Behind the Outcome
Financial strains on carers
Taking a sensitive approach
Caring for all ages
Looking after ourselves
Difficulties in accessing healthcare
Support for carers
- The top reasons for why people are cared for by a carer was for a physical disability (54.9%) followed by 40.9% due to a longstanding illness.
- 29.7% of carers (the highest reported percentage) reported feeling ‘quite satisfied’ with the support they or the person they care for has received in the last 12 months.
- 13.6% of carers reported that they were concerned for their personal safety compared to 85.6% who reported no concerns.
- 81.9% of carers reported that they were not able to take a break from caring at short notice or in an emergency as the person they were caring for has not used any support or services.
- 54.3% of carers reported having some social contact with people but not as much as they would like while 20.9% of carers reported feeling that they had ‘little social contact with people and feel socially isolated’.
- When asked, ‘has your health been affected by your caring role in anyway in the last 12 months’, disturbed sleep, feeling tired and a general feeling of stress were reported as the leading reasons for health being affected.
- In terms of the general health profile of carers, 31.8% of carers reported suffering from a long-standing illness, but the majority 39.2% reported none of the above.
- The number of carers over the age of 65 is increasing more rapidly than the general carer population –
- Over 37,000 people aged 65 and over in SNEE are providing unpaid care, over 3,000 of which aged 85 and over
- There are 1.2 million carers aged 65 and over in England
- The number of carers aged 85 and over grew by 128% in just ten years
- Nearly 3 in 5 (59%) carers aged 85 and over are male – Carers over the age of 65 are more likely to be female (52% are female and 48% are male). – the balance shifts as carers get older; 59% of carers aged 85 and over are male.
- Nearly half (45%) of carers aged 75 and over are looking after someone who has dementia
- As carers get older, they are more likely to provide more hours of care
- 6 in 10 (60%) older carers who provide 50 or more hours of care a week say their health is not good, rising to 72% of carers aged 85 and over
- 8 in 10 (81%) carers aged 75 or over say they were looking after a spouse or partner
- Older carers who provide lower levels of care (1 to 19 hours a week) report being in better health than non-carers of the same age – this pattern reverses for older carers providing 20 or more hours of unpaid care a week
- As our population ages, there will be increased need for informal care, but there also a need for older people to stay in the workforce longer – Workers aged in their 50s and early 60s are more likely than any other age group to be juggling caring responsibilities and working. In 2016 to 2017, 65% of men and 60% of women aged 52 to 64 years who were carers were also in work
- Nearly three in five carers in England and Wales are aged 50 years and over, and one in five people aged 50 to 69 years are informal carers – this is the most common age group for having caring responsibilities
- ‘sandwich caring’ or ‘dual caring’ – those who care for both sick, disabled or older relatives and dependent children – and those who fall under this category are usually referred to as ‘the sandwich generation’ – with teenagers and elderly parents with increasing physical and emotional need at the same time and as middle-aged people begin to face ageing issues of their own, the needs of those around them are increasing.
- Sandwich carers are more likely to report symptoms of mental ill-health, feel less satisfied with life, and struggle financially compared with the general population.
- One in four report health problems, relationship troubles and isolation among the difficulties also related to their caring role.
- Six out of ten sandwich carers who spend more than 20 hours providing adult care are out of paid work. They report a lack of leisure time, and 41% who look after a relative within their home say they are unable to work at all, or as much as they would like.
- Carers UK’s research found that trying to find the right care for an older relative was harder and more stressful than finding good quality childcare
- More than 72% of the sandwich generation are aged between 35 and 54 years, while 62% are women- in the general population, 38% are aged 35 to 54 years and 51% are women.
more than one in five children in England carry out some care for sick and disabled family members – The Children’s Society estimate there are 800,000 young carers aged 5-17 care for an adult or family member in the UK, although research from the University of Nottingham suggests is much higher than had been thought and that over 800,000 secondary school children (aged 11-16 years) in England are having to care for someone at home…with nearly 260,000 having a high level of caring – regularly doing domestic work, household management and emotional care.
Over a quarter of young carer’s (27%) aged 11-15 miss or have difficulties at school due to their caring responsibilities
One in three young carers said that their caring role makes them feel stressed.
Research also shows that 23% of young carers in the UK said that their caring role had stopped them making friends.
Many young carers only recognise themselves as young carers when they reach secondary school that they realise that their home life is different from that of their friends.
To claim Carer’s Allowance the customer has to be aged 16 or over. There are 60 under 18 year olds in Essex and 23 in Suffolk that were entitled to Carer’s Allowance in Q4 of 21/22
Impact of Inequalities - Carers
- Research shows carers are at increased risk of illness, and specifically musculoskeletal conditions, cardiovascular disease, generalised cognitive deterioration and function, and poor sleep.
- A Public Health England review of GP patient survey data suggests that younger carers, and carers with poor social and financial support, may experience higher ‘carer burden’ when caring for older people.
- carers are 16% more likely than non-carers to live with 2 or more long-term health conditions – Among carers living with 2 or more long-term conditions, arthritis and high blood pressure are the most common conditions.
- There is some evidence that indicates that mental health outcomes may be worse for carers compared to the general population
- Premature death, higher levels of disease and neglect of their own health care needs are known to be common amongst carers
- Impact of being less likely to work than non-carers – personal finances and cost of living
- Impact of social isolation and lack of leisure time on mental and physical wellbeing
- Impact on education, and as a result, future prospects of young carers
References & Further Reading
What we know matters to family carers and why
|I am valued||Recognising my role means I can access the support I need in my home, in my work or education, and in my community. |
Valuing my role means my contribution to the person I care for is respected and encouraged.
|I have the support I need to continue caring||Assessment of my needs and high quality, flexible emotional and practical support keeps me well and able to continue caring.|
Breaks from caring enable me to recharge and do the things that meet my own personal needs.
When the person I care for is happy, I am happy.
|I have the information I need for my health and wellbeing and the person I care for||I need the right information on how best to look after myself so that I can look after others.|
Having the right information on the health and wellbeing of the person I care for means that I can give the best care, and I can seek help early when necessary.
|I am treated as an individual||Treating me, my family, and the person I care for with dignity and respect, recognising my culture, characteristics and life circumstances, means our care and support is inclusive, sensitive and responsive to my needs.|
|I am seen and heard||Being an equal partner in the care of the person I care for means they get the best care possible.|
Compassionate professionals who focus on my needs as separate from the person I care for, and giving me choice and control, enables me to have good health and wellbeing.
How will things be different in Suffolk and North East Essex
|We will provide information on carers’ rights and support available through traditional and non-traditional routes including faith settings and community groups, in digital and non-digital formats, and fully accessible for diverse communication needs.||We will encourage carers to self-identify to health and care services, education and workplaces, and community-based settings so that their needs can be understood and they can access the assessment and support to which they are entitled.|
|We will give health and care staff, managers and employers, and wider public sector and community services including faith settings, information and advice on how to recognise a carer, have conversations, and offer kind, sensitive culturally competent support.||We will co-produce high quality trauma-informed services for carers.|
|We will ensure carers can have breaks, including breaks in their own homes, when they need them.||We will support carers and the people they care for to maintain their health and wellbeing before, while waiting for, during and after treatment to help them stay well and recover well.|
Case Studies – how we are making progress across Suffolk & North East Essex
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