Emotional strains, financial pressures and family feuds: new study reveals the plight of UK’s informal carers
New research among more than 2,000 UK adults commissioned by HealthTech start- up WeMa has revealed the struggles informal carers face. The independent, nationally representative survey found:
15% of UK adults currently consider themselves to be informal carers – equating to 7.85 million people
- On average, an informal carer spends 13 hours a week taking on duties such as cooking, cleaning and caring for someone close to them
53% of informal carers say the role has had a significant impact on their emotional state
30% of carers have fallen out with friends and family because of tensions around their responsibilities
Two fifths (39%) say the financial burden of being an informal carer has prevented them from leading the lifestyle they want
- 35% would pay for professionals to take on the carer duties but cannot afford to do so
77% of informal carers past and present across the UK – 14.08 million people – think they ought to get more support from the Government
Acting as an informal carer is causing significant stress and financial strain to almost 8 million people across the UK, new research commissioned by HealthTech start-up WeMa has revealed.
An informal carer is any individual giving regular, on-going assistance to another person – typically a family member, friend or neighbour – free of charge. According to WeMa, 15% of UK adults currently consider themselves an informal carer, equating to 7.85 million people across the country, while a further 10.5 million (10% of UK adults) have previous acted as an informal carer for someone.
On average, these informal carers – both presently and from years gone by – spend 13 hours a week performing these duties. Moreover, the study uncovered that being an informal carer has had a notable impact on their day-to-day lives.
More than half (53%) of informal carers say the role has put them under significant emotional stress, with 30% stating that they have fallen out with friends or family members because of tensions around the responsibilities they have taken on.
Almost two fifths (39%) of informal carers have been prevented from leading the lifestyle they want or previously had because of the financial strain of the role. Meanwhile, 35% say they would pay for professionals to take on the carer duties but cannot afford to do so.
As a result of the disruption it causes to their lives, the overwhelming majority (77%) of informal carers believe the Government must do more to offer financial, emotional or educational support to informal carers across the UK.
Rohit Patni, Chairman and co-founder of WeMa, commented on the findings: “Today’s research sheds light on a hugely important issue. Whether for a close friend, elderly relative or long-time neighbour, many people take on the responsibility of being an informal carer for someone close to them. However, in doing so they are clearly putting a massive financial and emotional strain on their day-to-day lives.
“More support is evidently needed for the country’s informal carers. Technology stands to make things far easier, with digital solutions making it simpler for people to manage and monitor their health. But the survey has also uncovered a clear desire among informal carers for the Government to offer greater support to those sacrificing time and money to care for their loved ones.”
Created by London-based start-up Lavanya Plus, WeMa is an online platform and app enabling more effective wellness management. By using the HealthTech solution, consumers can easily find, book and pay for a wide variety of healthcare services, ranging from domiciliary care to medical specialists. Simultaneously, the tech platform gives healthcare, fitness and wellbeing businesses the opportunity to improve the visibility, management and delivery of their services. Following its beta launch in 2017, WeMa is due to launch to market in February 2018.