The general public remain ‘in the dark’, as a majority drastically underestimate the number of carers in their own family, friendship groups and places of work, according to new research by Carers UK.
The research shows that more than half (51%) believe they don’t know a single family member or friend who cares, whilst as many as three in five workers (62%) believe they don’t know ‘any work colleagues’ who help look after a loved one. In reality, one in 10 (10%) people in the UK are carers and one in nine people in the workforce are juggling their paid job with unpaid caring, says Carers UK.
The survey found that, even amongst those members of the public who did manage to recognise that a friend or family member looked after someone, 65% of those who knew carers in the workplace did not ‘suggest where to find further information on caring’.
Amongst all of those polled, including those that had not recognised carers in their social circles or at work, two thirds (67%) said they would feel confident providing ‘emotional support’ to a new carer. However, just 42% would feel confident pointing people in the direction of information about caring.
Women were more likely to say they know a friend or family member who is a carer (43%) compared with men (34%). Female workers (27%) were also more likely than men (17%) to say they know a colleague who is caring.
Among those that know carers, women were more likely (42%) than men (34%) to have suggested sources of information to friends and family and significantly more likely to have suggested information to colleagues with caring roles (35%) than men (25%). Those who have never had an unpaid caring role are more likely (59%) to say they don’t have any friends or family who care. Only 17% of current carers say they don’t have any friends or family that are caring.