Older carers putting their health at risk to care for spouse

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Older carers putting their health at risk to care for spouse

Postby wendy » 05 Dec 2016, 15:49

Caring for their ill or disabled family members is taking its toll on the health and wellbeing of a generation of older carers.
This is according to a new Carers' Trust survey* of more than 400 unpaid carers over the age of 65, that found more than half of older carers looking after their husbands, wives and other family members, have put the person they care for first, at the expense of their own health and wellbeing.
Many older carers have cancelled hospital and GP appointments and haven't taken time out to socialise or look after their own wellbeing, resulting in a massive 81% feeling lonely and isolated, with over 80% of these saying that this is having a negative impact on their health.
One 76 year old ex-carer from Norwich looked after her husband who had Alzheimer's Disease. She runs a number of social events for carers in local towns throughout the county, She says:
"I often meet carers who are almost on their knees before they ask for support for themselves or help make the decision to seek a short break, respite or longer-term care for their loved one.
"More should be done by GPs to offer flexible appointments for carers - perhaps even giving carers preferential treatment and actively invite them for health checks to catch problems early on and before they reach crisis point."
The survey also found:
• Two thirds of carers attribute health problems to caring role
• Many carers are also living with illnesses and long-term disabilities themselves. 86% said they have health problems of their own, with 67% attributing their health problem to caring.
• 57% (237) had cancelled or postponed their own doctor’s or hospital appointments because of their caring role.
• More than half of those who responded said they postponed their appointments because they were worried about the person they care for.
• 56% care around the clock, while just under a fifth (76 carers) cared for more than 50 hours a week.
Norfolk Carers offers a range of services for local carers such a free Advice Line for carers, Time For You, a short breaks and respite service, individual support and help with funding and grants. The service is urging carers to ask their local health service to identify carers on the the free NHS health check.
Kevin Vaughan from Norfolk Carers says:
"There is a whole generation of older people, over the age of 65, who may be caring for adult children and their spouses or partners. Some of these people are ill or disabled themselves and if they become seriously ill they may be admitted to hospital and simply can't continue support the person they are caring for, so it is crucial that carers are identified early and offered appropriate support.
We are urging carers and others to take action now and ask their local health service to add a question to the free NHS Health Check to identify whether someone is a carer. This will mean that they can receive appropriate help from local services such as Norfolk Carers."
Norfolk Carers has signed up to Norfolk's "In Good Company" campaign which aims to highlight and take action against loneliness in the county. #NoLonelyDay.
Norfolk Carers Advice Line is available on: 0808 808 9876

Text only: 07497 002864
Website: norfolkcarers.org.uk
Facebook: Norfolk Carers
Twitter: @norfolkcarers
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Re: Older carers putting their health at risk to care for sp

Postby pamella » 05 Dec 2016, 21:45

Can well understand that they do put themselves second.

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