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Stressed carers feel the strain

Posted on 23 November 2012

Almost one in three people care someone who is sick, elderly and disabled but many find it hard to cope with the strain, a survey claims.

Research from Centre for the Modern Family, a think tank from Scottish Widows, highlights the need for people to plan for the long-term care of a loved one. Its report shows that 13% of people in the UK today care for someone who shares their home while a further 16% act as a carer to someone who lives elsewhere.

The study showed that people looking after someone who is sick, elderly or disabled often end up not looking after themselves as well as someone who isn't a carer.

The survey revealed 45% of carers worried about ill health, compared to 25% of non-carers. And 15% of carers found they ended up missing meals, almost double the 8% of people without a sick, disabled or elderly dependent.

The research underlined the importance of planning for care funding by revealing that many carers are worried about their finances. The report claimed 40% of carers believe they will become poorer over the next 12 months and 39% said they could no longer afford to regularly put some of their money away in a savings account.

The survey also showed that 30% had even sold some of their possessions over the internet to help make ends meet. And more than one in three (38%) said most of the rows in their family concerned money and their financial situation.

Psychologist Professor Cary Cooper, who is a Centre for the Modern Family panel member, said the negative impact caused by the stress of caring for a loved one was worrying, especially as the cost of care made it more likely that more care would be provided by family members in the future.

He said: "We are urging families to realise the benefits of the multi-generational household, whereby support can be shared across multiple people of different ages. This won't totally solve the problem, but it will go some way in easing it."

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