Information

Carers Census: results 2018 to 2019

First publication of results from the Carers Census, covering unpaid carers being supported by local services across Scotland in 2018 to 2019.

This document is part of a collection


3. Information on Carers

The analysis in the following section is based on the individual carers (23,180) identified through the de-duplication process, as set out in Section 2.1

A carer was included in the Carers Census if they:

  • had an Adult Carer Support Plan (ACSP) or Young Carer Statement (YCS) or review of their needs as a carer during the reporting period; or
  • were offered or requested an ACSP or YCS during the reporting period; and/or
  • received a specified support service (including short breaks or respite) during the reporting period. 

However, systems were still being designed to collect and record the required information at the time the Carers Census data was submitted. As such, multiple providers were unable to return information on all of the carers meeting the above criteria. The figures presented below will therefore be an undercount of the true number of carers being supported by local services.

3.1 Number of Carers across Scotland 

There were 23,180 unique carers identified in the Carers Census. However, since returns were not received from all data providers there are some gaps in coverage across Scotland: notably East Ayrshire and Aberdeen City. This data also does not include any carers living in Orkney since these records were removed during the de-duplication process (see Section 2.2).

Due to these gaps in coverage and the variation in completeness of the submitted data returns, there are no local area breakdowns included in this publication since the differences between areas are as likely to be reflective of the underlying data quality and coverage as due to differences in the actual number of carers being supported.

Data will be made available to data providers on their local area in due course.

3.2 Demographics

Age and Gender

Over half (57%) of the carers included in the Carers Census were working age adults and almost a third (32%) were adults aged 65 and over. Young carers (carers aged under 18) made up 12% of the individual carers identified. This proportion is slightly higher than previous estimates[3] concerning the total carer population, which suggested that young carers account for less than 5% of unpaid carers. This may indicate that carer support services are reaching a greater proportion of young carers compared to adult carers.

Around three quarters of carers (73%) in the Carers Census were female. This proportion is higher than in previous findings[4]based on the total carer population, which suggested that closer to 60% of carers were female. This may indicate that female carers are more likely to seek out support from services than male carers.

There are more female carers than male in every age group but the difference is most pronounced in the working age carer group, with females making up 78% of carers in this age group. This is consistent with previous findings[4] based on the total carer population which suggested that females of working age are more likely to provide unpaid care than working age males. The data indicates that the gender gap is narrowest for young carers, with 61% female and 39% male.

Female carers account for around three-quarters of working age carers
Female carers account for around three-quarters of working age carers

Carers Census, Scotland, 2018/19

Deprivation

There does not appear to be much difference in the number of adult carers by deprivation; however, there is a marked difference for young carers. 14% of the young carers in the Carers Census lived in the most deprived SIMD decile compared to 4% who lived in the least deprived SIMD decile. This difference is consistent with previous findings such as those included in the report on Scotland’s Carers[4].

Young carers are more likely to live in the most deprived SIMD deciles
Young carers are more likely to live in the most deprived SIMD deciles

Carers Census, Scotland, 2018/19

3.3 Caring roles

The roles of unpaid carers are highly varied. Carers can provide many types of care for the people they care for; such as providing emotional support or helping with shopping, cleaning and other domestic tasks. Some carers will be caring more intensively than others and may be caring for more than one person. This will all contribute to the impact that providing care and support has on a carer. 

The analysis in this section is based on those carers for whom information was available. Data completeness for the information in this section was fairly low overall, which should be taken into consideration when interpreting the results.

Carers’ Ability and Willingness to Care

The Carers (Scotland) Act 2016 aims to enable unpaid carers to be better supported so that they can continue to care, if they wish to do so. There will be some cases where carers are not able or willing to provide care and support but may still have to continue to do so.

Based on the 5,100 records for which information on carers’ ability and/or willingness to provide care was available, the data suggests that 71% of carers were willing to provide care and that 66% were able to do so. The data also suggests that 61% of carers were both able and willing to provide care.

Table 3: Percentage of Carers Able and / or Willing to provide care
Carers Willingness to provide care Carer Able to provide care Carer Not Able to provide care Carer ability to provide care Not Known All
Carer Willing to provide care 61% 2% 8% 71%
Carer Not Willing to provide care <1% 1% <1% 2%
Carer Willingness to provide care Not Known 4% <1% 23% 27%
All 66% 3% 31% 100%

Note: Based on the 5,100 records containing information on carers’ willingness and ability to provide care.

Intensity of Care Provided

Based on the 8,180 records with information on intensity of care, 56% of carers spent an average of 50+ hours a week providing care. This is double the proportion reported in Scotland’s Carers[5] which looked at the total caring population. This may reflect the fact that people with more intense caring roles are more likely to seek support from local services. 

Only 13% of carers for whom information on intensity of care was available spent less than 19 hours per week providing care. This is less than a quarter of the proportion reported in Scotland’s Carers, but again likely reflects that people with more intense caring roles are more likely to seek support from local services and so be included in the Carers Census.

Intensity of care varied between adult carers and young carers. 65% of young carers spent less than 19 hours a week providing care compared to 7% of adult carers. This likely reflects differences in the capacity for, and the appropriateness of, higher levels of caring between adult carers and young carers.

Most young carers provide up to 19 hours of care per week on average
Most young carers provide up to 19 hours of care per week on average

Carers Census, Scotland, 2018/19

Based on 8,180 records containing information on intensity of care provided

Type of care provided

As stated previously, carers can provide multiple different types of care for the people they are caring for.

Based on the 5,530 records with information on the type of care provided, the most common type of care provided was supervision / emotional support with around 9 in 10 carers providing this type of care. Around 7 in 10 carers provided help with shopping, cleaning and domestic tasks and just over half provided help with medication and with personal care. 

This varied slightly by age. Young carers were less likely to provide financial support such as helping with bills and budgeting (7% compared to 55% of adult carers) and less likely to help with transport (10% compared to 57% of adult carers). The proportion of young carers helping with personal care and with medication was roughly half the proportion of adult carers providing these types of care.

Young carers were far less likely to provide financial support or help with transport than adult carers
Young carers were less likely to provide financial support or help with transport than adult carers

Carers Census, Scotland, 2018/19

Based on 5,530 records containing information on intensity of care provided

Note: Carers can provide more than one type of care, so individual categories will not sum to 100%. Other types of care provided include help with appointments, help with communication and having Power of Attorney.

Impact of Caring on Carers

Providing care and support to family members, friends and neighbours can have multiple impacts, both positive and negative, on a carer’s life. 

Based on the 5,380 records for which information on the impact of the caring role was available, around 8 in 10 carers experienced an impact on their emotional well-being due to their caring role. Around 6 in 10 carers experienced impacts on their health and life balance due to their caring role. The data also indicates that for around 1 in 4 carers, providing care made them feel valued.

The data also suggests that adult carers and young carers were impacted differently by their caring roles. Providing care was more likely to impact the living environment of young carers (47% compared to 26% of adult carers) and 94% of young carers experienced an impact on their emotional well-being due to their caring role. Adult carers were more likely to experience an impact on their health due to providing care, with data suggesting that the health of 61% of adult carers was impacted by their caring role compared to 39% of young carers.

Young carers were more likely to experience an impact on their emotional wellbeing and living environment due to their caring role
Young carers’ emotional well-being and living environment were more likely to impacted by caring

Carers Census, Scotland, 2018/19

Based on 5,380 records containing information on intensity of care provided

Note: Carers can be impacted by caring in may ways, so individual categories will not sum to 100%.

The impacts of providing care varied slightly depending on the average number of hours of cared provided per week. The data suggests that the more hours of care a week provided by carers, the more likely they are to experience impacts on their health, finances and employment. For instance, 46% of carers providing up to 19 hours of care per week experience an impact on their health compared to 60% of those caring for 50+ hours a week. 

The reverse seems to be true when it comes to carers feeling valued. The data indicates that the less hours a carer spends caring per week, the more likely they are to feel valued. 32% of carers providing up to 19 hours of care per week felt valued compared to 25% of those caring for 50+ hours a week.

Carers were more likely to experience impacts on their health, finances and employment as the intensity of their caring roles increased
Impacts on health, finances and employment were more likely with more intense caring roles

Carers Census, Scotland, 2018/19

Based on 5,380 records containing information on intensity of care provided

Note: Carers can be impacted by providing care in many ways, so categories will not sum to 100%.

While it may be expected that the impact of caring would vary a great deal depending on the type of care being provided, this was not reflected in the data. 

Based on the 4,240 records for which information on both the type of care being provided and the impact of providing care was available, most types of care resulted in similar impacts being experienced by the carer. The slight exception was that carers’ finances appeared to be more likely to be impacted when the carer was providing financial support or help with transport. This may suggest that factors other than the type of care a carer provides are more important in determining how the caring role has an impact.

3.4 Support Plans, Needs and Support Provided

The analysis in this section is based on those carers for whom information was available. Data completeness for the information in this section was fairly low overall, which should be taken into consideration when interpreting the results.

Adult Carer Support Plans (ACSPs) and Young Carer Statements (YCSs)

Under the Carers (Scotland) Act 2016, all carers have the right to a new ACSP or YCS based on their personal outcomes and needs for support. As systems to collect and record this information were still being developed at the time the data was due to be submitted, many data providers were unable to return variables on ACSPs and YCSs. 

Out of the 23,180 individual carers in the Carers Census, information related to ACSPs and YCSs (including date of offer or request, whether the plan was completed or not and whether or not the plan was declined) was present for 48% of records. Of those records where there was information available, and so an ACSP or YCS must have been offered or requested, the data showed that 71% of carers had a completed ACSP or YCS and 11% had declined to have a ACSP or YCS.

Table 4: Percentage of ACSPs or YCSs completed or declined
ACSP or YCS completed ACSP or YCS declined
Adult Carers 71% 13%
Young Carers 68% 4%
All Carers 71% 11%

Note: Based on 11,170 records with information relating to ACSPs and YCSs.

Carers’ Support Needs

Carers can have multiple support needs; including short breaks or respite, counselling or emotional support, or assistance with benefits. 

Based on the 3,570 records for which information on carers’ support needs was available, around two-thirds were recorded as needing advice and information and half were recorded as needing short breaks or respite. 

The data suggests that support needs vary between adult carers and young carers. Young carers were more likely to be recorded as needing short breaks or respite (81% compared to 48% of adult carers) and counselling or emotional support (59% compared to 24% of adult carers).

Young carers were more likely to need short breaks or respite than adult carers
Young carers were more likely to need short breaks or respite than adult carers

Carers Census, Scotland, 2018/19

Based on 3,570 records containing information on intensity of care provided

Note: Carers can have multiple support needs, so individual categories will not sum to 100%. Other support needs include Emergency Planning, Future Planning and Peer Support.

Support provided (or intending to be provided) to Carers

Carers may be provided with multiple types of support to meet their needs and to help support their caring role. A carer can be provided with support without needing to have an ACSP or YCS in place.

Based on the 9,980 records for which information on the support provided (or intending to be provided) to carers was available, around 9 in 10 carers were provided with advice and information and around 1 in 5 carers were provided with short breaks or respite. 

The data suggests that there were differences in the support provided to adult carers and to young carers. Young carers were more likely to be provided with counselling or emotional support (60% compared to 14% of adult carers) and short breaks or respite (45% compared to 17% of adult carers). This may reflect the different support needs for young carers.

Young carers were more likley to be provided with counselling or emotional support
Young carers were more likley to be provided with counselling or emotional support

Carers Census, Scotland, 2018/19

Based on 9,980 records containing information on intensity of care provided

Note: Carers can be provided with more than one form of support, so individual categories will not sum to 100%. Other support provided includes Advocacy, Emergency Planning and Future Planning.

Based on the 2,940 records where information on both support needs and support provided (or intending to be provided) was available, the data suggests that nearly everyone who was recorded as needing advice and information (97%) was provided with this support. The data also indicates that 4 in 5 people who needed short breaks or respite, or practical support, was provided with that support.

Contact

Email: SWStat@gov.scot

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