Are you one of the 100,000 unpaid carers in Norfolk?
Published date: January 2019
In Norfolk it is estimated that there are 100,000 unpaid carers living in the region who look after someone suffering from an illness, disability, mental ill health or addiction, who would not be able to cope without their support.
There is a staggering 7 million carers in the UK, which equates to 1 in 10 people and this figure is rising. 3 in 5 people will be carers at some point in their lives in the UK and the economic value of the contribution made by carers in the UK is £132bn a year. It is thought that by 2030 the number of carers will increase by 3.4 million.
Figures show that 68% of young carers are bullied in schools and only half of young carers have a particular person in school who recognises that they are a carer and assists them. Young carers who were surveyed stated that they missed or cut short many school days every year due to being a carer and on average 48 school days were missed or cut short. Many services are only funded to work with young carers up to the age of 18 and in a survey, 79% of young carers said they felt worried about moving on as there was insufficient support for them.
Young adult carers across the UK aged between 16 and 18 years are twice as likely to not be in education, employment, or training. Based on Census figures there are estimated to be at least 376,000 young adult carers in the UK aged between 16 and 25. Figures show that 56% of young adult carers in college or university were struggling because of their caring role, with 17% stating they may have to drop out for reasons associated with their caring role. Young adult carers appear to be 4 times more likely to drop out of their college or university course than other students.
1 in 5 people aged between 50 and 64 are carers in the UK. 65% of older carers (aged 60–94) have long-term health problems or a disability themselves. 68.8% of older carers say that being a carer has an adverse effect on their own mental health. One third of older carers say they have cancelled treatment or an operation for themselves because of their caring responsibilities.
It is estimated that up to 1.5 million people in the UK care for someone with mental ill health with 50,000 children and young people looking after someone with mental ill health. 1 in 4 carers is a mental health carer and of all the UK’s carers, 11% care for people with dementia. 14% of carers care for people with learning disabilities including autistic-spectrum conditions.
The employment rate for carers is at 67% and half of those who are not working say that they want to do so. 1 in 5 carers gives up employment to care and 60% have used all their savings to cover the costs of caring. 23% have either re-mortgaged their home or downsized to a smaller property.
In a survey, carers providing more than 50 hours of care per week are twice as likely to report ill-health as those not providing care and those providing high levels of care were associated with a 23% higher risk of stroke.
Caring for someone covers many different things, such as helping with feeding, bathing, dressing, toileting, lifting and moving and administering medications. It may involve help with banking, transport, shopping and household chores or providing company when they are feeing lonely or anxious. If you are providing unpaid support and care to an adult family member or friend in Norfolk, there is free help and advice and a range of tools and resources on the following websites: