Revealed: sizeable information gap for unpaid carers

As Which? Elderly Care launches a new free information hub for unpaid carers, analysis finds nearly a third (31%) of unpaid carers struggling to find the information they need.

Research by Which? Elderly Care reveals a sizeable information gap for unpaid carers in England. Analysis of Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) data found that nearly a third (31%) of unpaid carers looking after an elderly relative (65+) struggled to find the information they needed.

With 3.8 million unpaid carers in England looking after someone over the age of 65, many could be missing out on critical information they need to help them access support. Concerned about the accessibility of information, advice and support in England, Which? Elderly Care has launched a new free information hub for unpaid carers, to help tackle this information gap and to help unpaid carers and councils.

Our analysis of HSCIC data found stark variations in how easy it was for unpaid carers of elderly relatives to find information in their local area.  Around half of these unpaid carers  in Brent (55%), Hounslow (50%), Sheffield (46%) and Lambeth (46%)  had difficulty finding information and advice.

In comparison, only one in seven (15%) of these carers in Halton – and around one in five carers in Redbridge and St Helens (17% and 18% respectively) – struggled to find information and advice.

Designed to supplement and bring together local authority information, Which? Elderly Care’s Carers Hub includes advice on how unpaid carers can arrange a carer’s assessment through their local council, get information on the financial support and the services available in your area, as well as advice on how to take a break from your caring role.

Daphne Sanderson, 76 from Gloucestershire has cared for her husband for many years. She commented:

“Having cared for my husband since the late 1970s, I know just how much of a difference the right information, support and advice can make to a carer’s quality of life. Raising the profile of carers, as well as ensuring they have all the tools they need, is vitally important.”

Alex Neill from Which? Elderly Care said:

“It is worrying to see that despite local authorities having information available, many unpaid carers are struggling to find and make use of it. This could be because people don’t identify themselves as being an unpaid carer, or simply because they are short of time. Our Carer’s Hub is specifically designed to make the task of getting the necessary advice and information easier.”

To visit Which? Elderly Care’s Carers Hub, visit www.which.co.uk/elderly-care/for-carers

 

Notes to Editors:

  1. Which? Elderly Care is a free website offering practical information and advice about arranging care in the UK. The information on the site is aimed at relatives and friends of people in need of care advice but it can also be used by people arranging care for themselves. As well as the new carers section, the site focuses on financing care, housing options and older people’s needs, such as dealing with dementia and memory problems and accessing local authority and NHS care and support.
  1. Which? Elderly Care analysed the HSCIC (Health & Social Care Information Centre) Personal Social Services Survey of Adult Carers in England 2014/15. At local authority level, respondents were asked how accessible they found information and advice about support, services or benefits. Which? Elderly Care looked at unpaid carers looking after someone 65+ only.
  1. Census counts of the number of unpaid carers in 2011 found that there were 5.4m. The HSCIC Personal Social Services Survey of Adult Carers found that 70% of carers were looking after people aged 65 or over, resulting in our estimate of 3.8m carers of older people.
  1. The Care Act 2014 states that local authorities must: “establish and maintain a service for providing people in its area with information and advice relating to care and support for adults and support for carers.”
  1. To read Daphne’s story in more detail, visit: http://www.which.co.uk/elderly-care/for-carers/being-a-carer/424923-daphne-s-story

Which? Elderly Care: Local Authority analysis of HSCIC Personal Social Services Survey of Adult Cares in England 2014/15:

Local Authorities with highest %ges of carers that found it difficult to find information and advice about support, services or benefits
Local authority name % that found it difficult to find information
Brent 55%
Hounslow 50%
Sheffield 46%
Lambeth 46%
Local Authorities with lowest %ges of carers that found it difficult to find information and advice about support, services or benefits.
Local authority name % that found it difficult to find information
Halton 15%
Redbridge 17%
St Helens 18%

Source: Which? Elderly Care analysis of HSCIC Personal Social Services Survey of Adult Carers in England 2014/15

Question: If looked in the last 12 months, have you found it easy or difficult to find information and advice about support, services or benefits?

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