UK & World News
Carers 'Suffer Health And Career Problems'
Thousands of unpaid carers are suffering health and work problems as they struggle to look after sick or disabled relatives without support, a charity has said.
Nearly 60% of those polled by the Carers Trust said the strain of looking after a loved one had affected their mental health while the same amount said it had harmed their working career.
Anne Roberts, chief executive of the charity, which works to improve services and support for unpaid carers, said: "As this survey shows, many unpaid carers have never accessed any support services to help them in their caring role.
"We already know that many carers simply don't have any awareness of the kind of help that is out there and what a huge difference it could make to their lives.
"We've launched Carers Trust so we can ensure that all carers know where to go to get that help when they need it and to help society recognise and value the role of carers in our communities across the UK."
About six million people in the UK are looking after an ill or disabled friend or relative, according to the charity.
More than a quarter of the 500 surveyed said both their physical and mental health had been adversely affected by their role.
One carer, named only as Norman, said he suffered financially and became depressed after he gave up his job to look after his wife Linda, who has MS.
He said: "The pressure on me eventually led to my own health failing. The stress of trying to manage a challenging job and cope with Linda's needs led to me ending up in the cardiac unit at our local hospital.
"I was left with no choice but to give up my job and become a full-time carer.
"The impact of this choice had serious financial implications and this led to depression and a feeling that I had gone from being a person to a resource called 'carer'. I was invisible."