Unpaid Carers are Filling Gaps & Reaching Crisis

Ben Budd
January 19, 2023
January 19, 2023

Today, the Office of National Statistics has released the 2021 Census data on unpaid care. There has been an increase in the number of people caring for between 20-49 hours a week and 50+ hours a week. Dementia Carers Count Chief Executive Melanie Blanksby said: 

“Many individuals do not automatically identify themselves as carers, but the 2021 Census data is a stark reminder of the number of people undertaking unpaid caring roles – over 5 million* individuals in England and Wales. This includes ~700,000 families who are living with dementia. Most people do not choose to become carers but provide support needed as “there is nobody else to do it”. Unpaid carers are ultimately filling gaps and propping up our under-funded social care system. This is not sustainable and it is not fair. 

“Our research indicates that over 80% of people caring for someone with dementia are reaching crisis points and are in desperate need of recognition and support. However, with the continuing crumbling of social care, there doesn’t seem to be any light at the end of the tunnel for people caring for a relative or friend at home. 

“We desperately need a long-term approach to care in the community. This should include valuing and resourcing a skilled workforce as well as providing flexible support for unpaid family carers. All unpaid carers should be able to access support that is right for them. For people caring for someone with dementia, this is likely to include emotional support as well as information about a dementia diagnosis, treatment and care.

“The census data should enable better planning and budgeting to ensure that carers are not left to struggle on their own feeling “broken” and “trapped”. Instead, with this clarity on the scale of unpaid care being provided, informed decisions can be made to ensure sufficient funding and support for carers themselves, in addition to adequate funding for the services and support needed by those they are looking after.”

For more information or interviews, please contact Iona-Jane Harris on 07807 231432 or email iona-jane.harris@dementiacarers.org.uk

Dementia Carers Count (DCC) supports the emotional and practical needs of the 700,000 families living with dementia across the UK. DCC offers a range of free services that give family carers the opportunity to understand more about dementia and to connect with others in a similar situation. To find out more visit: www.dementiacarers.org.uk 

Office for National Statistics (ONS) Unpaid care, England and Wales: Census 2021

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