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FEATURE Missing Out Research from Carers UK has showed that the lack of support for carers has taken its

toll on the health and finances of those caring for loved ones. We find out more about the Missing Out: the identification challenge report here.

The research also revealed that:

• More than half of people took over a year to recognise their caring role, almost one in four took over five years to identify as a carer, and nearly one in ten (9%) took over 10 years.

• Some groups of carers, such as those caring for disabled children or people with mental health conditions, or caring at a distance, take longer than average to identify their role.

• Nine in ten of carers said they missed out on financial or practical support (or both) as a result of not identifying as a carer.

Those looking after older or disabled loved ones are missing out on vital practical and financial support with disastrous consequences for their own health and finances, according to findings released on Carers Rights Day by Carers UK.

The study showed that people often don’t see themselves as carers and aren’t identified, and as a result, miss out on support. 52% of carers surveyed said missing out on support as a result of not identifying as a carer impacted negatively on their finances and 50% said it had an impact on their physical health.

The charity is using the research to reach as many of the 6.5 million carers in the UK as possible with information about their rights and the financial and practical help they are entitled to; including benefits, such as Carer’s Allowance, respite and access to equipment and technology which can help them in their caring role.

On a positive note, the research suggested there has been an increase, of 10%, in the number of

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people who recognised their caring role within the first year of caring. Nearly half of those who responded to this question compared to 36% of people in 2006, showing the difference that public awareness campaigns and support provided by Carers UK and others has made.

Heléna Herklots, Chief Executive of Carers UK, said: “For many people, looking after an ill, older or disabled loved one doesn’t have a name, it is ‘just something you do’. However, not recognising you are carrying out a caring role can be a barrier to accessing vital support. The longer it takes to identify as an unpaid carer, the more likely it is that carers will struggle without the support and advice they need. Frontline professionals, such as GPs, teachers and social workers, play a central role in ensuring carers are identified and then guided to support as early as possible in their caring journey.”

The charity is calling for a new duty on the NHS and education professionals to put in place policies

• 78% said missing out on support as a result of not identifying as a carer meant they suffered from stress and anxiety.

• Two in five carers said missing out on support as a result of not identifying as a carer caused them to give up work to care.

to identify carers and to promote their health and well-being. They are also keen to develop education, information and training for a range of frontline professionals to increase knowledge and signposting of carers.

Carers UK hope to create improved access to information and advice for carers, as well as a public awareness campaign to improve understanding and recognition of carers.

They have developed a range of tools to help carers early in their caring journey get the information and support they need which can be found at

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