Confirmation of rise in carer numbers

Published on Friday, 15 February 2013 12:22
Posted by Vicki Mitchem

The ONS has released further details of the 2011 Census confirming Carers UK estimates in December which showed that the number of carers in England and Wales has risen from 5.2 million in 2001 to 5.8 million in 2011.

The figures also showed that the greatest rise has been among those providing over 50 hours care a week – which has increased by 270,000 people since 2001 (a 25% increase), meaning that a staggering 1.4 million people providing round the clock care.

Heléna Herklots Chief Executive of Carers UK said: "Family life is changing as a result of our ageing population and the fact that people are living longer with disability and long-term ill-health.

Too often the costs and pressures of caring for older or disabled loved ones can force families to give up work to care and lead to debt, poor health and isolation. In addition, as more families need help to care, social care support and disability benefits are being cut. This risks putting even more pressure on families, many of whom are already struggling to cope.

Society needs to come to terms with this demographic shift. As caring for older or disabled loved ones becomes a fact of life for more and more families, services, communities and workplaces need to adapt to enable carers to care healthily, live their own lives and work alongside caring."

Recent research by Carers UK showed that the care provided by friends and family to ill, frail or disabled relatives saves the state £119 billion per year. The main carers' benefit, Carer's Allowance, is £58.45 for a minimum of 35 hours – equivalent to £1.67 an hour, and is currently received by 600,000 people.

Source: Carers UK

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