NHS will bear brunt of carers’ ill-health

With over 10 million people in the UK aged 65 and over and the number of people aged 85 plus likely to increase dramatically over the next decade, The Carents Room has issued a warning about the impact increasing numbers of ‘hidden carers’ could have on the country’s healthcare system.

Dr Jackie Gray (pictured here), public health doctor, retired GP and Founder of The Carents Room has shared her concerns for those family members caring for loved ones, as new research published this week reveals over 60 per cent of people experiencing an impact on their mental health while being a carer. Furthermore, almost half of carers of elderly relatives say their work life has been negatively impacted by their carer role.

Caring is “unnecessarily stressful”

Too many people juggling looking after ageing parents and older relatives, alongside other life commitments, are finding life unnecessarily stressful and are at risk of detrimental impacts to their own health. This risk is down to the complex nature of navigating the health and social care systems, coupled with feelings of isolation and loneliness.

Dr Jackie Gray, Founder of The Carents Room, said: “More must be done to help the largest group of carers in the UK, many of whom receive little or no support and can be very time poor.

“Their contribution to society really does take the strain off the NHS and social care system, however, our new research has identified a worrying trend of increased stress faced by carents.

“And just to be clear, this problem is not the fault of the ageing family member. If there is sufficient support, and a safety net is available for people feeling overwhelmed by the enormity of their situation as a carent, it can be avoided.

“People tell me all the time that they find it difficult to find support and information and can often feel that they are being pushed from pillar to post trying to find what they need. This isn’t always about health-related matters, navigating appointments, it’s about emotional support and very practical tips and solutions to safety concerns when elderly parents are living alone.

“I am concerned that the needs of the ‘carenting’ generation are often neglected, and this is very much overlooked in our society.”

Specific support for vulnerable customers. Working closely with Northern Gas Networks and Cadent, The Carents Room can access funds to support customers in vulnerable situations. The energy sector directs funding to organisations whose mission it is to provide support, energy advice and health information to thousands of customers in vulnerable situations.

Eileen Brown, Customer Experience Director at Northern Gas Networks said:

“By partnering with The Carents Room, we are ‘helping the helpers’ who give their time and energy to look after others. The team at The Carents Room are doing a fantastic job of supporting families and individuals to look after loved ones, friends, and neighbours.

“We are particularly grateful to the team for the work they do to promote the Priority Services Register, helping us to look after customers who need a little extra help.”

Cadent’s Head of Customer Vulnerability, Phil Burrows, added: “There is already so much complex health and financial information for Carents to navigate that often, the practicalities of keeping people safe in their home is not front of mind. Therefore, by partnering with The Carents Room, we aim to promote practical safety awareness to help ease some of the worry. For example, access to our free locking cooker valves, or new EasyAssist gas emergency control valve, means that in case of a gas emergency or a smell of gas, people have rapid access – simply pressing a button – to these products, ensuring that a family member can quickly take action to keep their loved one safe.”

     What is the Carent’s room?

Founded in 2020, The Carents Room set out to lend a hand to those struggling carents – carers looking after older parents, who are at a life juncture undertaking a multitude of activities; first aiders, homemakers, care coordinators, personal shoppers, chauffeurs, secretaries and financial or legal advisers.

The Carents Room is a holistic online platform, providing a ‘one stop shop’ of information and support, while enabling carents to engage with other carents and building a supporting community.