New joint research, published today by Carers Northern Ireland and the seven other Carers Week charities, shows that 81% of carers have seen a negative impact on their physical health as a result of caring. 9 out of 10 said caring was taking a toll on their mental health and over a third had suffered a physical injury as a result of caring.
With significantly more carers in Northern Ireland (75%) blaming their poor health on a lack of practical support, the eight Carers Week charity partners say this is further evidence of a crumbling care system and have called on the Government to take urgent action to improve the financial and practical support carers receive.
Helen Ferguson, Director of Carers Northern Ireland says:
"Families are paying the price of a social care system in crisis – too often pushed to breaking point as caring without the right support takes a toll on their mental and physical health. Carers make an incredible contribution to our society, saving the Government £4.4 billion a year with the care they provide to ill or disabled loved ones – it is time they get the support they need in return’.
To ensure that carers are getting all the support they are entitled to now, groups all across Northern Ireland are running events to mark Carers Week.
"This year's Carers Week is the biggest ever, showing that, in tough times our supporters, affiliates and local networks are going the extra mile and doing an incredible job supporting carers locally. We are also very grateful to our national partner Sainsbury’s, who have sponsored vital new information resources and whose stores are leading the way in identifying carers in the community and guiding them to advice and support.”
To give carers practical tips and advice on staying healthy as they care Carers Northern Ireland has also teamed up with Bupa to produce Carewell, a new online resource built on carers’ own tips and experiences. Carewell includes expert advice and tools to help carers eat healthily, sleep better, exercise and reduce stress as they care. Visit www.carewelluk.org
Download the full research report, In Sickness and Health and our latest guide to carers rights and benefits at www.carersuk.org/news-northern-ireland/item/2610-cw2012-research.
For information on Carers Week including a directory of local events visit www.carersweek.org.