Carers left in financial hardship from forking out for expensive equipment, new report reveals
New research from Carers UK shows unpaid carers are “bankrupting their future to pay for the present”, with alarming figures revealing that carers are having to use their own money to pay for essential products for the person they care for.
Surveying over 7,500 unpaid carers, the charity has revealed the huge personal and financial costs associated with caring for a loved one in its latest report: ‘State of Caring: A snapshot of unpaid care in the UK’.
More than two thirds of carers said they use their own income or savings to cover the cost of care, equipment or products for the person they care for. In addition, two in five carers said they are struggling to make ends meet, with many carers having to reduce their work hours, turn down promotions or leave their job altogether.
Carers UK outlines that the financial pressure on carers is having a knock-on effect on their futures, with 53 percent of all carers unable to save for retirement.
Those struggling to make ends meet are the hardest hit as carers with little money to spare are forking out hundreds of pounds to cover the costs of essentials like bed pads and mobility equipment.
78 percent of carers who report they struggle financially are paying towards the cost of care services or equipment for the person they support.
The most popular type of practical support that carers receive or buy is equipment in the home of the person they care for (like hoists, grab rails or easy-grip handles on taps), with 48 percent of respondents receiving this support.
However, when asked how they feel about the practical support they may receive in the future, only one in 10 carers said that they are confident that the support they currently receive will continue in the future.
Helen Walker, Chief Executive of Carers UK, said: “This is a classic case of robbing Peter to pay Paul, with carers already providing high levels of support left short-changed as they use money for their retirement trying to cover the care costs of their loved one today.
“As it stands, providing unpaid care is pushing thousands of families into poverty and is having a lasting impact on their finances and quality of life.”
In light of its alarming statistics, Carers UK is calling on the UK Government to urgently put in place the financial and practical support that carers need, both in the short term and over the longer term, to ensure the sustainability of the health and social care system.
Helen added: “Our current social care system is on the brink. Families urgently need affordable, high quality care services and carers need access to regular breaks and stronger workplace rights to ensure they can combine work and care if they wish to.
“The leadership candidates cannot afford to ignore this burning issue affecting millions across the country and must commit to funding and delivering a reformed system that has families at its heart.”