Unpaid carers face bleak financial future

Unpaid carers face bleak financial future paying care costs on top of tens of hours of care every week says Carers UK



New research released today by Carers UK, the leading membership charity for people caring unpaid for family and friends, shows unpaid carers are “bankrupting their future to pay for the present”.

As well as providing significant levels of care themselves, more than two thirds (68%) of carers are also using their own income or savings to cover the cost of care, equipment or products for the person they care for. As a result many are struggling financially and unable to save for their own retirement.

Unpaid Carer

A survey of over 7,500 people currently caring unpaid for family or friends, the majority of whom provide well over 50 hours of care every week, reveals the huge personal and financial cost of caring for a loved one, with two in five carers (39%) saying they are struggling to make ends meet. Those who take on caring responsibilities often struggle to juggle a job as well, with many reducing hours, turning down promotions or leaving work altogether.

The financial pressure on carers is having a knock on effect on their futures, with more than half (53%) of all carers unable to save for retirement.

Those struggling to make ends meet are the hardest hit as carers with little money to spare are forking out hundreds of pounds to cover the costs of essentials like nutritional supplements, bed pads and mobility equipment.

The vast majority (78%) of carers who report they struggle financially are paying towards the cost of care services or equipment for the person they support. For those on a low income or receiving Carer’s Allowance – the benefit for people caring for more than 35 hours a week and just £66.15 per week – it is a never ending struggle to make ends meet. Three quarters (73%) of this group are unable to save for retirement.

On top of the huge personal cost of care, crucial support is being cut with one in eight carers (12%) reporting that they or their loved one received less care or support in the previous year, as a result of reduced support from social services.

The survey findings paint a worrying picture of carers under immense financial, physical and mental strain and an underfunded social care system that is taking its toll on families.

  Helen Walker, Chief Executive of Carers UK, said:

“This is a classic case of robbing Peter to pay Paul, with carers already providing high levels of support left short-changed as they use money for their retirement trying to cover the care costs of their loved one today.

“As it stands, providing unpaid care is pushing thousands of families into poverty and is having a lasting impact on their finances and quality of life.

“Our current social care system is on the brink. Families urgently need affordable, high quality care services and carers need access to regular breaks and stronger workplace rights to ensure they can combine work and care if they wish to.

“The leadership candidates cannot afford to ignore this burning issue affecting millions across the country and must commit to funding and delivering a reformed system that has families at its heart.”

Carers UK is urging the government to urgently put in place the financial and practical support that carers need, both in the short term and over the longer term, to ensure the sustainability of the health and social care system.

Source: Carers UK



Caregiver’s Guide to Understanding Dementia Behaviour

Early detection of the onset of Alzheimer’s disease is a crucial step and plays an important part in a person’s long term prognosis. However, detection of Dementia takes some time to show and may not be very visible through medical examination in the initial stages.

It may take up to 4 years for each stage to develop into the next or as long as 20 years. It varies from person to person. This caregiver’s guide to understanding dementia starts with you understanding the stages that occur during its onset. There are 7 stages in which dementia starts to develop:

Stage 1: No signs of dementia. No memory loss or any behavioral changes.

Stage 2: Mild cognitive decline. Normal forgetfulness is caused by aging.

Stage 3: The caregiver might start to see signs of increased forgetfulness. But, nothing that would interrupt with daily activities or any safety health risk.

Stage 4: Early-stage Dementia, It can be detected through medical examination. Difficulties in socializing and irritation due to forgetfulness. At this stage, a caregiver’s intervention is necessary to maintain daily care for the individual.

Stage 5: Mid –stage dementia. The person at this stage requires assistance for activities of daily life. Short-term memory will be mostly lost and forgetfulness will be more visible.

Stage 6: Also, a part of mid-stage dementia, now the person may behave inappropriately in social settings. It will be a safety risk for the person to go by himself or herself and may get lost.

Stage 7: Late-stage Dementia. The difficulty with eating, Restlessness and a great amount of confusion. The caregiver needs to be patient and may need to get external help for 24-7 care.

Dementia

Dementia can be extremely frustrating for a person and does not only need assistance. It needs patience and the help to live that a caregiver can give through a mixture of activities in daily care.

FirstCare boss Jane Byrne knows a little about dementia. She says that “if you notice someone, particularly if they are over the age of 65, forgetting things, or finding it easier to remember things that have long since passed, then it is perhaps time to go to the doctors. If dementia is caught earlier, then this will give you many more options for treatment.”

  • All you need to know about daily care plans

The daily care plans that you create must include a set of daily activities as well as recreational activities that keep them refreshed and rejuvenated. It should also be noted that you must accommodate time for yourselves in between and should have enough time to accommodate any last minute changes. The key to best health care is to have patience and understand their pain and thus treat them better. Things you can include in a daily care plan are as follows:

  • Grooming
  • Dining
  • Medical appointments
  • Medicine Scheduling
  • Cooking
  • Music
  • Arts and Crafts
  • Reading
  • Meeting up with family and friends
  • Puzzles
  • Exercise, as to whatever the body allows
  • Spiritual independence

Communication

It is important to keep the person suffering from Dementia engaged in useful conversations. They should feel like a part of a family and not only the person who creates dependence. As long as they are able to vocalize their thoughts and concerns, dementia’s hop to another stage slows down.

  1. Ask simple questions, which are easy to get a grasp of. They should be short and directed since the short-term memory weakens, it is essential not to confuse them any further.
  2. While communicating, if your loved one gets agitated, then distract them with something else that makes them happy and then start again.
  3. Use visible cues to help them remember easily.
  4. Help them remember the past. It is always a soothing thought and keeps them reaffirmed in the present.
  5. Respond to them positively without any signs of irritation on your face, as it will elevate their moods.Just put your heart into it, they deserve it.