Caring can have an effect on a carer’s physical, mental and emotional health; 66% of carers who took part in a Crossroads’ survey in 2019 said that their health had suffered because of their caring role. Caring can be physically demanding; people with care needs may need help getting in and out of bed, being lifted into a wheelchair or hoist, or help with movement. Often, the physical demands of being a carer can cause a carers own health to suffer, but due to the nature of their role, many will not seek medical assistance or advice for their own issues as they are focussed on their loved one(s).
Many carers also report that their mental health has suffered as a direct implication of their caring role. Common symptoms and effects include anxiety, depression, worry and stress, and dealing with administering medication, arranging finances and planning for respite can add additional pressures.
Socially, caring can have a negative impact on carers as their caring responsibilities can directly and indirectly cause their personal relationships and social lives to suffer. Carers often miss out on socialising if their loved ones can't be left on their own, and many carers report feelings of social isolation and loneliness.
Personal relationships can also suffer as a result of caring, and 73% of carers said that they felt their relationships with others had been affected by their caring role. Without support many carers are unable to take time off from their caring responsibilities which can result in them losing touch with family members and friends. There is also a lack of understanding surrounding carers and caring which can affect a carer’s personal relationships and their ability to socialise as many carers do not feel understood or supported.
Three million people in the UK juggle work and caring which comes with its own challenges and fears. Caring can be very time-consuming and carers often have to manage medical appointments and care arrangements which can lead to absences from work. Caring can also lead to a reduction in hours or giving up work completely.
Additionally, many carers find that taking regular time off or working reduced hours can impact their long-term ability to work and can cause them to lack important skills and knowledge that are needed in certain areas of employment. This can make it very difficult for carers who are seeking employment after their caring role has ended.
Many carers can also face a lack of understanding from employers. Carers need awareness, flexibility, empathy and understanding within employment and education for them to be able to continue working alongside caring.
Young carers can find it difficult to juggle caring with their education. Having a parent or sibling with a care need can disrupt home life and can be very tiring for young people meaning they may struggle to concentrate in school.
Please contact Crossroads if you are struggling with your role as a carer.