YouGov worked with Future Care Capital to delve into what it means to be an unpaid carer. The report, ‘A Forgotten Army: Coping as a Carer’, provides insight into the impact of caring on all aspects of daily life, as well as highlighting carers’ support and training needs.
In February 2019, YouGov worked with Future Care Capital (FCC) on ‘A Forgotten Army: Coping as a Carer’. The report provides in-depth insight into the impact of caring, covering areas from physical and mental health, to financial and educational impacts.
The report also includes Future Care Capital’s recommendations for recognising the contribution of unpaid carers to society, via policy measures to improve carers’ access to education, training, information and support.
YouGov conducted a survey of 2,217 unpaid carers in the UK. The data was weighted to be representative by gender, age, region and ethnicity. This was accompanied by face to face interviews with 20 respondents, followed by 14 participating in online focus groups.
Results and findings
- The impacts of being a carer are wide ranging and, for many carers, the role affects all aspects of day-to-day life. Carers were most likely to feel the effect of caring on their social life, with close to two thirds (64%) reporting an impact on this as a result of their caring role, followed by their mental health (49%) and family life (45%).
- In the qualitative phase, carers mentioned that – when they did find time to socialise – they felt guilty about ‘not being there’ for the person they care for, they worried about what was happening at home without them, and they could not fully relax or enjoy themselves.
- Half of carers said that they had received some form of information or support to assist with their role as a carer (51%). The most common forms of support were access to equipment such as stair lifts or adapted furniture (17%) or information on the support available to carers (16%).
- Yet the qualitative findings also highlight that many carers had not received support at all – stemming from a lack of knowledge of who and where to go to, and not knowing at what point of the journey they become eligible for support.
- A sizable majority (74%) of carers felt that (further) support in some form would be useful to them, with a common desire for emotional support (33%).
- Only 13% of carers had received some form of advice or training in relation to their role as a carer. This was most often training in medical tasks, advice on their own mental/emotional health, or training in giving emotional support to the person cared for (each 3%). A quarter of all carers (27%) indicated that some form of advice or training would be useful to them.
- Although there is a growing world of technology that can make the caring role considerably easier, only one in three (33%) carers reported using technology to assist with their role as a carer.
"YouGov immediately understood the significance of the research we wanted to commission and got to work on how best to navigate what would be a sensitive and at times emotionally challenging piece of work. Unpaid carers deserve greater recognition in our society. They are the backbone of communities and dedicate their lives to caring for others. The demands placed on them are complex and they require greater support.
The YouGov team delivered on-time and produced high quality work. Through polling, online focus groups, and face-to-face interviews across the United Kingdom – they helped us discover the multiple impacts unpaid carers face on a daily basis. This research contributed to a robust report and recommendations that set out to deliver more targeted support.
What also stood out to me during the research engagement was YouGov’s ability to tell the many personal human stories that added weight to the final report. Three case study videos were also produced to give some of the unpaid carers who contributed to the research an opportunity to have their say.
The level of client engagement and guidance by the YouGov team was second to none. I would work with YouGov again and recommend them to other organisations who are looking to pursue a major national research project.”
Joel Charles, Director of Government Relations and Impact at Future Care Capital
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