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Caring Behind Closed Doors

Carers UK report, Caring Behind Closed Doors, found 70% of Carers are providing more care than before the coronavirus outbreak. The results show that on average, carers are providing 10 hours more care per week than they were before the coronavirus outbreak. The average figure is now 65 hours per week, compared to 55 hours before. Over a third of Carers are providing additional care because of the closure or reduction of local services and 35% are providing more care because they are worried about paid health and social care staff having contact with the person they care for.

What Carers have to say

“100% of my husband’s care is on me. He is in a wheelchair so I have a lot of heavy lifting to do. Before coronavirus I had two care workers three times daily. It makes a difference.”

“The Day centre is closed and my brother can no longer take my Dad out one day at the weekend. I am providing three full days more than I used to. 24 hours a day 7 days a week.”

“I have cancelled Mum’s care calls, four a day, two care workers, to reduce the amount of people entering Mum’s home. I have moved in with her, for the shielding period, and I’m providing the care she needs.”

“Prior to this outbreak, I could rely on other family members getting involved in taking my wife’s shopping, or out for coffee, etc, giving me a break and some free time to do activities just for myself. Coronavirus now means I have that responsibility for 100% of the time.”

“The type of care I now give is more time consuming as I have to do a 20 mile round trip to care for my parents, doing their shopping, sorting out prescriptions and paperwork as well as trying to keep my daughter busy with activities inside the home.”

“I am terrified, to the point of suffering a panic attack, that either Mum or I will become infected and I’ll either have to battle to keep her isolated, or worse I might get ill and won’t be able to keep her safe because I’ll have to self-isolate.”

Notably, 69% of all carers are providing more help with providing emotional support, motivation, or keeping an eye on someone either in person, phone or online. On top of all of this, 41% of Carers are juggling caring and working from home. This is a huge challenge especially with the emotional impact of not being able to take a break from work or care, as one Carer says,

“Working from home has increased my stress levels because I am no longer able to use going to work as respite from my caring role.”

In addition to these extra pressures are financial worries too. 81% of unpaid carers are spending more money at the moment. (72% are spending more on food and 50% are spending more on household bills).

Carers were already under pressure before, but now over half (55%) reveal they feel overwhelmed and are worried they are going to burn out in the next few weeks. If you are feeling like this, please call the Birmingham Carers Hub main contact number 0333 006 9711 to speak to one of our advisors who can offer you support. We also have a definitive Covid-19 Guide for Carers along with essential information for carers, available here.

If you would like to share your experience and feelings about caring during the pandemic, or if you have any tips for other Carers, please get in touch: info@forwardcarers.org.uk