Three out of four carers have reached ‘breaking point’ – survey

Three out of four carers have reached “breaking point” at some point due to the pressure of their role, according to a poll out today.

A survey of 1,941 unpaid carers found 74% had felt stretched to their limits by the stress of trying to care for somebody who is ill, frail or disabled.

The most common cause of carers reaching breaking point, cited by 41%, was “frustration with bureaucracy” when trying to get benefits or access NHS and social care.

Other factors included deterioration in the health of the person being cared for, lack of sleep and concerns about money.

Launched to mark Carers’ Week, the study also revealed that some of the UK’s six million carers have attempted suicide.

Sir Geoff Hurst, former England footballer and World Cup hero, has cared for his wife and is supporting Carers’ Week.

He said: “Those who care for family and friends mostly do so under the radar, without pay or acknowledgement, and deserve to be recognised for their dedication to the people they care for, not just during Carers’ Week but for all the weeks of the year.

“Carers face physical and mental challenges every day and should be more visibly supported and appreciated for the generous and loving hard work that they do.”

Almost a third (31%) of carers in today’s survey said extra money would make a difference to their lives. Carer’s Allowance is currently £53.10 per week.

A separate poll of 2,000 members of the public found that 76% believed the allowance was not enough to support carers who are unable to work.

A total of 86% said carers make a valuable contribution to society, coming behind nurses (91%) and firefighters (90%).

Plumbers are supported by 46% of the public, the Royal family by 27%, followed by politicians on 14%, bankers on 12% and footballers on 5%.

One carer, Michelle, from Hampshire, looks after her 19-year-old son who has autism, epilepsy and learning difficulties.

She said she has struggled to get basic support from local social and housing services.

“The stress and difficulty of caring with no support has made me feel suicidal and only knowing no-one would care for my son made me not carry this through,” she said.