The number of online searches for financial and well-being support for unpaid carers has reached an all-time high, according to new research from Seniorcare by Lottie – an elder care employee benefits solution.
Over the last 12 months, unpaid caregivers have turned to Google for advice on coping with the financial implications of providing unpaid care for their loved ones.
- 200% increase in online searches on Google for support for unpaid carers.
- 100% increase in online searches for unpaid carers’ rights.
- 30% increase in online searches on Google for ‘unpaid carer’
During the same time, searches also reached an all-time high for mental health concerns affecting unpaid carers across the UK, including a 40% increase in searches for ‘carer stress syndrome’ and a 23% increase for carer burnout.
‘We’re now at the tipping point of a caregiver crisis across the UK, with more people than ever before providing unpaid care for a loved one – on top of coping with the increased spike in the cost of living,’ shared Lottie’s Seniorcare Lead Ronan Harvey-Kelly.
‘It isn’t surprising to see that online searches for mental health worries from carers have reached an all-time high. While looking after a loved one can be a very rewarding experience, it isn’t without its challenges.’
‘Now adding a rise in the cost of living and possibly financially supporting a loved one – it’s clear why the mental well-being of carers across the UK is at risk.’
‘On top of that, it’s estimated that 5 million people in the UK are juggling caring responsibilities with work; that’s 1 in 7 of the workforce. The government urgently needs to recognise the unpaid care crisis unravelling: all unpaid carers – whether in employment or not – need financial, well-being and practical support. It isn’t enough to recognise the crisis; we need clear guidelines on available support.’
Data released by the ONS last week revealed a shocking number of older adults are struggling to keep up with an increase in energy, utility, and food prices, with 40% of those on lower or fixed incomes significantly reducing their weekly spending on food and groceries.
Similarly, 6 in 10 older adults have already reduced their gas and electricity usage more than any other age group.
‘Alongside Lottie’s research, it’s worrying to see the new ONS data release about the rising cost of living and its impact on everyone across the country, especially the older generations.
‘Previous research also found 1 in 5 adults over 65 living in poverty, and this will increase further due to the rising cost of living and surge in prices for everyday essentials,’ shares Lottie’s Ronan Harvey-Kelly.
‘There is a risk that unpaid carers and the elderly community will become isolated without the right support. Social isolation can devastate your physical and mental well-being, including higher stress levels and increased feelings of depression and burnout.
‘We already see unpaid carers’ stress in their everyday lives, which will only increase when facing the cost-of-living crisis. Right now, we need to put more pressure on the government to ensure enough support for unpaid carers across the UK.’
‘Many people who provide unpaid care are unaware of their rights.’ Outlines the financial, practical, and emotional support available now to unpaid carers.
Over the last 12 months, online searches on Google for ‘unpaid carer universal credit’ increased by 100%. You may be entitled to certain benefits paid for by the Government – including a carer’s allowance, so it’s worth checking what you can receive.
This could relieve some of the pressure and worry facing anyone caring for an elderly relative during this financial crisis. It’s also worth checking via a benefits calculator, as you may also be able to claim support with your council tax or help with fuel costs.
Caring for an elderly parent can be very rewarding, but it can be challenging and leave you feeling overwhelmed. With ‘carers burnout’ at an all-time high over the last 12 months on Google (23%), it’s important to find well-being support for yourself but also relieve some of the pressures you’re facing through practical help, including a carer’s assessment.
All carers are entitled to a carer’s assessment from their local council, so you may be able to ask for additional support (especially if you’re a working carer) or any equipment to make caring for your loved one easier.
Alternatively, if your elderly parent requires round-the-clock support and cannot provide this, you can browse local care homes that offer nursing or residential care.
Confide in those around you
It’s understandable to feel isolated and lonely, but opening up about your feelings can be a relief. You’re not alone in how you’re feeling; online searches for ‘parent carer burnout’ increased by 100% over the last 12 months.
Your close friends or family may be able to support you and help with caring for your elderly parent, to alleviate some pressure off you. Alternatively, you may find connecting with those in similar situations helpful. A quick search online will show you any local support groups for you to attend.
Finally, if you’re struggling with your mental health, it’s important to speak to your doctor or a medical professionals, there is always help available.