Unpaid carers struggling to manage day-to-day services for those they look after – survey

Unpaid carers are struggling to help manage day-to-day services such as telephone, banking and financial assistance on behalf of the person they look after, a charity has claimed.

A survey for Carers UK found 40% of unpaid carers do not have a formal arrangement in place for managing the affairs of the person they care for, citing the time it takes and the challenge of having “difficult conversations” as barriers.

Just 7% of carers said they are not helping manage a service on behalf of the person they care for.

They reported statutory services as being the most challenging to manage when looking after someone else’s affairs.

Almost half of carers dealing with the Department for Work and Pensions and Jobcentre Plus (49%) found them challenging while 35% of those managing council services struggled and 32% of carers using hospital services found them difficult to manage on behalf of someone else.

Carers also had some difficulty managing accounts with private-sector companies on behalf of someone else. More than a quarter of carers using everyday banking services (27%) reported finding it difficult, as did 25% managing landline or mobile phone services.

Carers UK is launching a carer friendly company blueprint which sets out how an organisation can incorporate a “carer friendly approach”, by reflecting carers in the company’s values, supporting staff who have caring responsibilities and training all staff to support their customers who are carers.

Carers UK chief executive Helen Walker (pictured) said: “Too many unpaid carers find it challenging helping manage their loved one’s affairs on top of providing many hours of physical and emotional support. Having to communicate with services that do not understand their needs can make life even more stressful.

“With two-thirds of UK adults expected to provide unpaid care in their lifetimes, it is clear this is an issue that could affect any one of us. It is vital that services and wider organisations recognise the increasing numbers of carers and their role in managing accounts by introducing policies and processes that support them.”

A spokesperson for the Department for Work and Pensions said: “We are always looking for ways to improve our services to carers and work closely with organisations supporting them to make sure that information about carers’ benefits is widely accessible, including on GOV.UK.

“Since April 2020, more than 90% of Carer’s Allowance applications have been made online and over 90% of those customers have said they are happy with the online service.”

Carers UK surveyed 6,031 current and former carers between February and May 2020.

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