'The world’s going on around me and I’m not able to tap into it.’
No one should have to care alone
Loneliness can affect anyone, but carers are particularly at risk. According to research by the national carers’ charity Carers UK, eight in ten unpaid carers have felt lonely or isolated because of their caring role.
If left unchecked, loneliness can be devastating. Research shows that lacking meaningful social connections is as damaging to our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day (Holt-Lunstad, 2015).
As part of the Carers Week 2018 campaign to help carers get Healthy and Connected, we surveyed 124 carers and conducted nine in-depth on caring and loneliness in Croydon.
Our research found:
- 64% of carers said that caring stopped them from socialising as much as they wanted to for most or all of the time.
- 45% felt lonely or isolated because of their caring role most or all of the time.
- 78% of carers who used the Carers Support Centre said it helped them feel less lonely and isolated.
- 53% said that increased access to respite breaks from caring would reduce their loneliness; followed by support for the person being cared for (52%); increased disability and carer awareness from professionals (44%); and the general public (37%).
Read our full report: No one should have to care alone: caring and loneliness in Croydon
Carer who uses the Carers Support Centre
‘A sympathetic ear does wonders on the ability to cope when tired and alone.’
Starting #CarerConversations in Croydon
The Carers Information Service believes that no one should have to care alone. That's why we are encouraging individuals, organisations, employers and professionals in Croydon to get involved with Carers Week and reach out to carers around them. The simple offer of a listening ear to a friend or relative, showing understanding as a professional or being a carer friendly employer can make a world of difference.
Make a #CarerConversations pledge
To get involved, download our #CarerConversations pledge card or our hope for the future card if you are a carer. Write your planned action or hope for the future, then send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also tweet us with the hashtag #CarerConversations or add your pledge in person to our Carers Week Wall at the Carers Support Centre.
Please note that #CarerConversations is run by the Carers Information Service and not the national Carers Week campaign. Visit www.carersweek.org to learn more about the national campaign.
#CarerConversations - tips for friends and family
51% of the British public believe that they don't know a single friend or family member with a caring role, yet one in ten of us care for someone. Reach out to them by simply taking the time to ask how they are - and show interest in the answer! Carers are often highly invested in the wellbeing of the person they care for, so you might like to ask after them too.
Be aware that some people are very private about their caring role and may not want to discuss it. Try not to force the issue; they may open up to you in future when they feel ready.
You may wonder how you can help carers in your social circles. Only offer to do what you are capable of. Even small things like phoning to check in on someone, taking them out for a coffee or simply listening without judgement can make a big difference.
#CarerConversations - tips for professionals
If you are a professional, it’s important to be carer friendly when providing your service. For example, do you ask service users if they have a caring role? Do you show carers flexibility and understanding? Can you direct people towards sources of help if they need it?
#CarerConversations - tips for employers
If you are an employer, around one in nine of your employees will be carers (Carers UK). This a substantial part of your workforce and it makes good business sense to create a carer friendly work culture.
Employers for Carers (part of Carers UK) supports employers to invest in the carers in their organisations, offering resources, advice and networking: www.employersforcarers.org.