What's stopping people self-identifying as carers? — Scope | Disability forum
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What's stopping people self-identifying as carers?

Cher_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 5,741 Disability Gamechanger

New figures published from the 2021 Census show a decline in the number of individuals identifying as unpaid carers for friends or family since 2011. But, why?

"I was sitting in the meeting with the director of adult social care, with a cup of tea, and she said 'Katie, you're a carer'.
"Up until that point I thought I was just a pretty good wife,
This quote from a BBC article about the census finding, illustrates the surprise Katie - wife to husband Mark with Motor Neurone Disease - had upon realising her loving support for the last three years translated to her being his carer too.

This personal story is mirrored on a grander scale, with:
... the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveal[ing] that across England and Wales, five million people aged five and over provided unpaid care during the 2021 snapshot, a drop of 800,000 people since the last census 10 years before.

Over to you:

  • What are some of the reasons you think lie behind the falling numbers of unpaid carers?
  • Do you believe there is enough awareness about unpaid carers and their entitlements?
  • Is there stigma attached to being a carer?
Please let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
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  • newborn
    newborn Community member Posts: 830 Pioneering
    Exactly as the quote says, people help other people. The words they use would include 'helping', maybe 'assisting', maybe 'looking after', 'taking care of', or 'giving a hand', 'helping out'. They wouldn't do it for pay. 

    Perhaps the question is "Do you give unpaid help to someone who is disabled?"

    (The word 'carer' is strongly associated with someone paid to help.) 

    On the same lines, medical professionals will teach relatives, including those with extremely disabled family members, to use equipment and administer treatment and medicine, and to carry out personal  procedures.

    If not done by the relatives, those tasks would be done by paid nurses. 

    But, rightly, the relatives would not call themselves 'nurses' 

  • durhamjaide2001
    durhamjaide2001 Scope Member Posts: 7,524 Disability Gamechanger
    • What are some of the reasons you think lie behind the falling numbers of unpaid carers? I think this is because people are so caring about their loved ones that they don't want to be paid. Another factor I believe is that there's a lot of paperwork and I think some unpaid carers such as parents just can't be bothered to fill out the forms which is really time consuming.
    • Do you believe there is enough awareness about unpaid carers and their entitlements? There's a lot of awareness about young carers but I think there needs to be more awareness on adult unpaid carers.
    • Is there stigma attached to being a carer? I think there is a stigma around unpaid carers who are parents especially mums as often they can't hold out a job because life with a disability and health needs are complex and you don't know what's coming around the corner. To the outside world this can be seen as laziness and that these unpaid carers just sit at home and watch TV all day but this isn't the case.


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