Carers Week begins on Monday, June 10, which this year will focus on helping people with caring responsibilities to remain healthy and connected to society.
Research produced for Carers Week reveals one in three unpaid carers in the UK have felt lonely or isolated because they feel uncomfortable talking to friends about their caring role, while 61 per cent said their physical health had worsened.
In North Yorkshire there are approximately 65,000 people across all age groups who identified themselves as providing unpaid care, equating to more than one in ten people, according to the 2011 census. The true figure is believed to be much higher, as many people providing support do not recognise themselves as a carer.
Almost one in four women aged 50 to 64 provide unpaid care, with 25 per cent of women in this age group in Ryedale and 26.6 per cent in Craven, compared with the national average of 23.5 per cent.
There are also more than 18,000 carers aged 25 to 49 and more than 3,000 under the age of 25.
North Yorkshire County Council helps fund five main carers centres across the local Clinical Commissioning Groups.
In 2015/16 the carers’ centres had more than 1,800 referrals and supported more than 1,200 new, previously unidentified adult carers. A total of 476 young carers have also been supported through the carers’ centres.
A Joint Strategic Needs Assessment looked at the impact of caring on people’s physical and mental health, relationships, ability to socialise and finances was recently published by the council.
The assessment found;
- Carers reported they found their caring roles and responsibilities made it hard to look after their own health, exercise or eat a balanced diet. When finances are tight, carers often ensure the cared-for person gets enough food, but “make do” for themselves.
- Health is affected by the needs for hands-on care which is physically exhausting, especially for young people caring for adults. This is often combined with sleep deprivation, injury and strain.
- Social isolation and impact on mental wellbeing.
The Health and Wellbeing Board in North Yorkshire, in its Caring for Carers 2017 – 2022 report, identified six main issues as a result of surveying carers and organisations in depth.
As a result, its carers’ strategy set out to improve the identification of carers, improve the information and advice available to them, enable carers to take a break, improve carers’ health and wellbeing, enhance financial wellbeing and involve carers as experts.
The Chairman of North Yorkshire County Council, Cllr Jim Clark, will be attending a number of carers’ events next week. He said: “The thousands of people in North Yorkshire who provide a vital service in caring for a friend, relative or neighbour are our counties’ quiet heroes and deserve recognition for the work they put in day in, day out.
“We want to make sure this incredible work is recognised in our society and that they receive the help and support they need.”