Unpaid carers are seven times more likely than the general population to experience loneliness, according to new research published for Carers Week 2019.
Around 35% of unpaid carers say they often or always feel lonely, compared to just 5% of the general population. For many, this is due to the pressure of not having enough time or money, often combined with a sense of isolation and a lack of support.
There are approximately 8.8 million unpaid carers in the UK, an increase of almost 40% since 2011. This means that more than one in six adults in the UK are now providing unpaid care for a loved one, friend or neighbour.
The situation is even worse for older people who take on caring responsibilities. Carers aged 65 years or older are nine times more likely than the general older population to experience significant feelings of loneliness.
The number of carers aged 65 and older now stands at more than 2 million, and many of these have their own health and care needs to look after too.
If you are an unpaid carer there are plenty of reasons why you may sometimes feel lonely. For example:
If you're caring for someone close to you, it can put extra pressure on your finances. There are a number of benefits available specifically for carers, including Carer's Allowance and Carer's Credit. Make sure you claim any support you're eligible for.
With the rising cost of care, an increasing number of people juggle work and unpaid care responsibilities.
If you're one of around three million carers in the UK already combining caring duties with paid work, you'll know it can be difficult to find the right balance.