19 February 2015
This report, the second in a two part series summarising research from the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at University College London (UCL), focusses on the UCL findings on the subjective wellbeing of older carers.
The research finds that:
- Long term caregiving was associated with declines in quality of life and life satisfaction for carers, and an increased risk of depression.
- Giving up caregiving was associated with increased depression amongst both male and female carers.
The report addresses the wider context of these findings, highlighting how our ageing population could potentially lead to large increases in the number of older carers, with the number of carers over 65 already having risen by 35% since 2001. It also highlights the day-to-day realities faced by many older carers, including a high risk of emotional distress; the loss of friends, either because of a lack of time to socialise or because friends were unable to properly understand the constraints and strains of caring; and potential health risks.
The report explores the policy implications of the research, highlighting that while there are already some policies in place to try to support carers, most are aimed at carers in general, rather than those who are older carers specifically. The report highlights how more could be done to protect the emotional wellbeing and mental health of older carers, through appropriate support being provided at all stages of the caregiving cycle.
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