Carers UK has today launched a new emotional support service for unpaid carers to help combat isolation and the unrelenting toll of the pandemic.
Previous research by the charity shows that people caring unpaid for older, disabled or seriously ill relatives are being left exhausted and socially isolated by the COVID-19 crisis.
The vast majority (81%) of unpaid carers have taken on more care for relatives and friends in the last year. Vital support services have been put on hold for months on end, leaving many to manage with little or no support. Research released for Carers Week (7-13th June 2021) shows that caring through the pandemic has taken a significant toll on carers’ health, with 69% saying their mental health has worsened and 71% feeling stressed and anxious as a result of caring during the pandemic.
Carers are, on average, seven times lonelier than the average person, and restrictions and shielding during the pandemic have impacted some carers’ support networks, leaving 65% of carers lonelier and more isolated than before the pandemic.
Following a successful launch in Wales, Carers UK is now rolling out its new Listening Support Service UK-wide via telephone, offering unpaid carers across the country a chance to talk to someone who understands the challenges of caring. The trained callers, made up of volunteers, will make phone calls to unpaid carers providing emotional support and a listening ear, wherever they are in their caring journey.
Helen Walker, Chief Executive of Carers UK, said:
“We know that millions more people took on a caring role during the pandemic, and carers have told us they felt “abandoned” and expected to “get on with it” with little or no support for much of it. We are delighted to be able to launch this new service during Carers Week to provide carers with an attentive ear, supporting those who are new to caring, perhaps struggling with additional challenges caused by the current situation, or feeling isolated in their homes. Whatever the situation, the service will provide a valuable opportunity for carers to talk to someone who understands.”
Joanie, Listening Support Volunteer, said:
“Unpaid carers work so hard with little recognition and little thanks, and often have no one to talk to. To know that someone is listening to what you have to say is so powerful and can make such a difference to how a carer feels about what they do and about themselves. I would like to be able to help facilitate this process for the amazing people who care.”
Carers UK’s new Listening Support Service is being supported by the Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust.
For more information and to sign up to the service, visit www.carersuk.org/listen.