‘The World Shrinks’: a new report by Carers UK

A recently published report written by Carers UK as part of the Jo Cox Loneliness Commission, explores the issues around social isolation and loneliness experienced by carers. Loneliness can by caused by many different things including:

  • The carer is so busy with caring, health and social care appointments, that they don’t have time or energy left to see friends and other family
  • Friends and family drift away as life becomes so different from theirs
  • Emotional demands of caring and focussing on the wellbeing of the person they care for means the carer neglects their own needs.
  • Reduction in income can mean the carer can’t afford to participate in social activities

The report says ‘for many carers, the world simply shrinks…. You can feel invisible as you fade into the background and the needs of the person you are caring for take centre stage.  It can be lonely, bearing so much of the responsibility of caring for a loved one.’

Carers involved in the research said that these things would make them feel less lonely:

  • Regular breaks from their caring role (54%)
  • More understanding from society (52%)
  • Being able to participate in leisure activities (40%) and support in paying for social activities (30%)
  • More understanding in the work place (30%)
  • Being in touch with other carers (29%)
  • Being able to participate in education or training opportunities (20%)

There are additional problems caused by social attitudes to caring and disability, for example difficulties in using public transport or getting into venues.  Public hostility if the person you care for has unusual or challenging behaviour can put carers off going out.

At Carers Leeds, we would support all of these findings – social isolation for carers in Leeds very much exists and it seriously impacts on the carer’s health and wellbeing. Through our service which offers a diverse range of activities and support, we hope to do the best possible for carers encouraging them to address the barriers to social activities, and to get out there as much as possible to socialise and be present in Leeds society.