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Wednesday, 17 October, 2001, 03:31 GMT 04:31 UK
Carers lack vital support
Carer
The number of carers is expected to rise over the next 10 years
Two out of three carers in the UK receive no support at all, a survey suggests.

This lack of help is having a significant effect on their own health.

A survey carried out by The Princess Royal Trust for Carers (PRTC), which provides support for more than 100,000 carers at 106 carer centres, revealed that one in four carers had suffered health problems.

Among people who had cared for a relative, friend or neighbour for more than 10 years the number of those suffering health problems was significantly higher.

The areas where carers were most in need of help included:

  • accessing information and advice
  • dealing with health professionals
  • taking respite from caring

PRTC chief executive Alison Ryan said: "There is much work that needs to be done in this country to raise the understanding of caring, the implications of being a carer and what can be done to help the six million current and 13 million future carers."

The survey revealed that the services of nearly a quarter of carers were required for more than 50 hours per week.

Carer facts
42% of carers are men
58% of carers are women
54% of carers are aged between 35 and 59
19% of carers are under 35
46% of carers have cared for more than six years
62% of carers have cared for more than three years
56% of carers are the main breadwinner
50% of carers are employed
67% of people cared for are over 64
And more hours were devoted to caring for people with mental or physical disabilities than for problems related to old age.

Ms Ryan added: "This new survey suggests that people do not understand the situation of a carer and the degree to which they can suffer.

"They are therefore not responding to carers as a needy cause."

This latest research backs up the results from a study carried out by St John Ambulance last year in which it was found that half of all carers suffered from chronic fatigue.

It also revealed that almost one in three carers suffered from back problems or stress and cases of depression had also increased.

There are currently six million carers in the UK with that number expected to rise by 12.8 million over the next 10 years.

See also:

14 Mar 00 | Health
'Carers suffering more illness'
08 Feb 99 | Health
Funds 'to care for the carers'
04 Mar 99 | Health
Health burden of young carers
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