The Scottish public does not feel that unpaid carers are sufficiently valued, according to a new online public poll.
The survey, carried out for the start of Carers Week, showed more than seven in 10 (76 per cent) of the Scottish public feel carers are not properly appreciated for the support they provide and this figures rises to just over eight in ten (83 per cent) of those in the UK who have previous experience of caring
The unpaid care provided by Scotland’s carers has been estimated to be worth £10.8 billon a year.
More than 759,000 people in Scotland are currently providing care for an older, disabled or seriously ill loved one. The numbers of unpaid carers is rising faster than the general population. 6000 people each day across the UK take on a caring role but the poll showed that many people are unaware how likely it is they would take on a caring role and would be unprepared if they did become a carer.
One in five people aged 50-64 are carers yet half of respondents in the UK who are not currently carers
(50 per cent) thought it unlikely they would ever become a carer.
When asked their top three three concerns, affordability of care and the impact on their finances is the top worry (47 per cent) for Scottish people if they were faced with taking on a caring role. Coping with the stress of caring (39 per cent) is the second biggest worry. More than a third who have never cared for someone (36 per cent) would worry they didn’t have the skills or experience to become a carer and almost a quarter (22 per cent) would worry about the impact of caring on their physical health. Carers have worse health than the general public; carers providing 50 hours or more a week of care are more than twice as likely to be in bad health as non-carers (Census 2011).
Worryingly, almost a quarter of those polled who have never cared (22 per cent) would not know or
understand what help would be available if they became a carer.
The online YouGov poll was conducted on behalf of eight major charities who are calling on the new UK Government, the Scottish Government and society during Carers Week to do more to recognise the important contribution that unpaid carers make and support them to care.
Simon Hodgson, Carers Scotland, on behalf of Carers Week, said: “It is deeply concerning that three-quarters of respondents feel carers are undervalued by society for their contribution and this figure rises further for those who have caring experience themselves. The Carers Week charities seek to raise awareness of the huge contribution that carers are making every day to the lives of the family and friends they support and to their communities. In Carers Week we’re calling on the public, government and all parts of society to play their part in supporting carers by helping to build communities that recognise and understand the value and needs of carers.
“We urge our local authorities, health boards, Scottish Government and indeed the new UK Government to do more to value, recognise and promote the vital contribution made by the Scotland’s 759,000 unpaid carers in supporting people who are ill, frail, disabled and older to live full lives in their own homes and communities.”
Thousands of events and activities are taking place across Scotland and the UK for Carers Week with hundreds of individuals and organisations pledging to play their part in building Carer Friendly Communities.
Carers Week 2017 is made possible by Carers Scotland and Carers UK joining forces with Age Scotland, Carers Trust, Macmillan Cancer Support Scotland, the Scottish Motor Neurone Disease Association, MS Society Scotland and Which? Elderly Care and kindly supported by Nutricia Advanced Medical Nutrition and the Lockwood Foundation.
For more information, visit: www.carersweek.org