Carers sacrificing own health for the benefit of others

According to recent reports, individuals who take care of others without being paid are being failed by the social care system. A lack of funding means that they are not able to take breaks from work without suffering stress of financial difficulties.

In a collaboration of representatives from eight of the UK’s leading charities including Age UK and Carers UK, there are 6.4m unpaid carers with five out of 6 of them juggling taking care of a loved one while also working full time.

It has been highlighted that the increased stress levels of being a carer alongside working is taking its toll on the physical and mental health of the carers themselves.

Eight out of ten of the carers questioned in a survey conducted by the charities reported themselves that the responsibilities of taking care of after elderly relatives or friends or younger adults with disabilities caused them health problems.

It was reported that there were a number of carers suffering from psychosomatic and psychophysical symptoms of stress including back pain, hair loss and increased incidence of cold or flu. Additionally carers are more likely to suffer from insomnia, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.

It was reported that two fifths of carers said they had put off seeking medical help due to commitments. Some individuals had highlighted severe consequences of such delays including delayed cancer diagnoses and severe physical damage to organs such as the heart and lungs.

The coalition of carer charities concluded that the government needs to stop withdrawing funding to help financially and emotionally support carers. Additionally, they suggested that carers should be offered regular health checks to ensure their own health is monitored. has been running mindfulness courses for carers and health care professionals in the UK and mainland Europe. It has been found that experiential Mindfulness-based training has equipped carers with tools to first take care of their own physical and psychological wellbeing which then enables them to care for others in optimal health and with a better state of mind.

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