Supporting unpaid carers

Millions of people across the country play an important role in caring for their friends and family, and we recognise that for some this can be a significant commitment.

We will improve information, advice and support services for people with caring responsibilities, recognising the important role they play and empowering them to achieve the life goals that matter to them.

According to the latest available Census data from 2011, over 5.4 million people of all ages provide unpaid care in England, and we expect the number of people providing unpaid care to have risen since then.

What’s changing

Over the next three years we will:

  • Invest up to £25m to work with the sector to kickstart a change in the services provided to support unpaid carers, and their availability across the country.
  • Provide for a duty for Integrated Care Boards to involve unpaid carers when commissioning care services.
  • Introduce a Carer’s Leave entitlement of 5 days of unpaid leave per year for eligible employees.

Linda and Ken’s story

Linda looks after her husband Ken who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2016 at the age of 53, after a battle to prove his difficulties were not caused by anxiety, depression or stress.

Linda has become an expert in Ken’s care. His understanding of money and time are affected by his Alzheimer’s, as well as his recognition of words.

Linda had to give up work to care for Ken and felt lost about her role. “The day when I realised I was responsible for absolutely everything – finance, health care, running the household, personal care – was a huge shock and I felt very alone,” Linda says.

The hardest thing for Linda is uncertainty for the future. “Life can’t carry on without us as carers,” she explains. “Ken is totally dependent on me and I don’t know where he would be without me”.

Finding very little support for people with dementia and their carers Linda started a blog to educate others. An appearance on local television talking about the needs of younger people with dementia, led to social services offering Linda a care assessment.

Picture of Yusuf who is in his late 70's

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