8. Experiences of Carers
Characteristics of Carers
The contribution of carers in looking after people, including some of the most vulnerable in society, is widely recognised. Many people who get help and support for everyday living receive it from friends and family instead of, or in addition to, formal services: the survey indicates that thirty six per cent of people who received help did so out with formal services (see chart in section 7).
The survey asked people whether they had carried out any regular unpaid caring responsibilities for family members, friends, neighbours or others because of either a long-term physical / mental health / disability or problem relating to old age.
Fifteen per cent of people indicated that they look after or provide regular help or support to others. The 2015 Scotland's Carers publication describes in some detail the latest data from a variety of sources to show the diverse profile of carers in Scotland. It identifies the Scottish Health Survey as the current preferred source for estimating unpaid caring prevalence, which reported that 15 per cent of Scotland's adult population had caring responsibilities in 2018.
The age and gender distribution of carers who responded to the survey is shown in Table 8.1. It is broadly the same as reported in the 2017/18 survey. Thirty three per cent of carers who responded to the survey were aged 65 and over, and sixteen per cent were aged 17 to 44. Overall, there was a higher proportion of carers who are women (sixty three per cent compared to thirty seven per cent of men).
|17 to 44||4%||12%||0%||16%|
|45 to 64||17%||34%||0%||51%|
|65 and over||15%||17%||0%||33%|
Of those who provide care, the distribution of the number of hours per week is shown in Figure 8.1. It shows that very similar proportions (around thirty per cent) of people provided up to four hours and more than fifty hours of care a week, with slightly fewer providing between five and nineteen hours of care a week. It was less common for people to provide between twenty to forty nine hours of caring per week. This distribution is similar to the one reported in previous surveys.
The survey asked carers who they cared for. Their responses are shown in Table 4. Forty per cent of carers said that they looked after a parent, with twenty nine per cent saying that they cared for a partner or spouse.
|2017/18 a||2019/20 a|
|Partner or spouse||27%||29%|
|A friend or neighbour||8%||7%|
|Total no. of respondents||20,678||23,254|
Note that percentages do not sum to 100 as people can care for more than one person.
Experiences of Caring and Impact on Wellbeing
The survey asked carers about their experiences of five specific aspects of caring and the impact on their wellbeing. Figure 8.2 sets out the percentage of positive responses to these statements.
As with the previous survey, the responses in 2019/20 were mixed. However, overall the results were less positive than in previous years. Carers were most positive about the balance between caring and other things in their life with sixty four per cent responding positively to this question in 2019/20.
Carers were least positive about support to continue caring. Overall, thirty four per cent of carers said that they felt supported to continue caring which is a decrease of nine percentage points from 2013/14. Only thirty eight per cent said that caring did not have a negative impact on their health and wellbeing, which is also nine percentage points less than in 2013/14.
In line with the question in section 7 (relating to care and support services received), fewer carers thought that services were well coordinated (thirty eight per cent in 2019/20 compared with forty seven per cent in 2013/14).