Those caring for loved ones with dementia continue to suffer financially and emotionally
• There are around 134,000 people who have given up work to care for a loved one with dementia
• Those that do so will lose on average £24,000 a year in wages
• This totals over £60million in lost wages every week throughout the UK
• Ongoing unpaid dementia care duties have left over 288,100 people feeling depressed and 395,300 suffering from stress
Specifically, the latest figures from Alzheimer’s Research UK indicate that there are 850,000 people in the UK with dementia. With just 59,000 people receiving ongoing care from the NHS, this continues to put pressure on loved ones to fill the gap.
Currently, according to figures from Carers.org, there are 670,000 unpaid carers looking after people with dementia in the UK. One fifth of these carers have given up work completely, equating to 134,000 people nationally.
With just £64.60 available each week from the Government in the form of Carers Allowance, someone giving up the average wage to care for a relative would find themselves on just 12.47% of their previous wage, if they received no other benefits or grants. That means someone in this position would see an average shortfall of £23,576 each year. Carers Allowance is only available to those caring for someone for at least 35 hours per week and getting it can affect their eligibility for receiving other benefits.
Across those 134,000 unpaid carers, this equates to £60,755,600 a week in lost wages.
However, carers don’t just feel a financial impact. Their own health and well-being can also be negatively affected.
Most notably around 288,100 people have been left feeling depressed and 395,300 continue to suffer from stress due to ongoing care of loved ones.
Carers have also been left feeling socially isolated, with 259,290 reporting having little social contact with people due to their ongoing responsibilities. In some cases carers feel isolated even from their own families who may not want to confront the reality of what is happening to their relative or be unwilling to act as care providers.
Sarah McEwan, Head of Resource and Development at Cera Care, a homecare company that specialises in the care of dementia sufferers said: “Family members and unrecognised carers do so much to fill the care gap before someone is officially diagnosed with dementia.
“We’ve already seen information that says how much the cost of unpaid care impacts the UK economy, but we wanted to look closer at those individual carers and highlight the huge sacrifices they make to ensure those in their care get the most out of life.
“It’s so important to celebrate the work they do and truly showcase the hidden costs and sacrifices these people make every single day.”
Dementia is continuing to impact the UK economy and the lives of unpaid carers and family members. The number of people with dementia in the UK is forecast to reach over 1 million by 2025 and over 2 million by 2051, whilst around 32% of people born each year since 2015 will go on to develop dementia.
For more information on the impact felt by unpaid carers looking after people with dementia in the UK, visit the Cera website https://blog.ceracare.co.uk/the-hidden-cost-of-dementia.