More than a third of unpaid carers feel that they are unable to manage in their caring role
Carers have been left exhausted by the pandemic and worry about the future, new research has shown.
Just 23% of exhausted unpaid carers in Scotland are confident that the support they receive with caring will continue following the Covid-19 pandemic, a study by Carers Scotland has shown.
After an extraordinarily challenging year providing many more hours of care for loved ones during the pandemic - coping with reduced support from health and care services as well as limited help from family and friends - unpaid carers are seriously worried about the support they will have to help them care in the future.
The research released for Carers Week (7 – 13 June) found that 71% of unpaid carers in Scotland have not had any breaks from their caring role during the pandemic. Of those who got a break, over a third (36%) used the time to complete practical tasks or housework, and almost a quarter (24%) to attend their own medical appointments.
Three quarters (77%) reported being exhausted as a result of caring during the pandemic.
More than a third (36%) said they feel unable to manage their unpaid caring role.
The charities supporting Carers Week in Scotland – Carers Scotland, Age Scotland, Carers Trust Scotland, Scottish Motor Neurone Disease Association and Oxfam Scotland - are calling on the Scottish Government to ensure unpaid carers providing significant hours of care get the breaks they need.
Simon Hodgson, director of Carers Scotland, said: “Carers are exhausted having cared around the clock for more than a year, and do not know how they can continue without a break. Many are worried that the support services they rely on will not continue in the future.
“Without the right support, the stress of the last year could lead to far more unpaid carers breaking down. It is essential that the Scottish Government ensures that carers can take breaks, provides additional funding to expand breaks for carers and that carers are offered as much flexibility as possible to ensure that breaks meet their needs.
“Moreover, unpaid carers need hope and support in the future. We believe now is the time to make a generation-defining commitment to carers that they will be placed at the centre of Scotland’s recovery from Covid. This includes, as part of delivering a National Care Service, ensuring that carers have a right to a break from caring”
72% of unpaid carers in Scotland responding to the Carers Week survey reported poor mental health, and the same percentage (72%) said their physical health had deteriorated.
More than two thirds of unpaid carers (69%) say they are worried about continuing to care without a break.