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Men's Health Forum: More Than Four In Ten Of The UK’s Unpaid Carers Are Male

More than four in ten (42%) of the UK’s unpaid carers are male, dispelling the stereotype that caring is a female issue. The new report 'Husband, Partner, Dad, Son, Carer?' was produced by the Men's Health Forum and Carers Trust and is a survey that highlights the needs of male carers.

 

Overview

The report 'Husband, Partner, Dad, Son, Carer?' examines the needs and experiences of male carers and helps to raise awareness that male carers are potentially not getting the support they need. There are 2.5 million male carers in the UK and they face extra health and work challenges that are not always recognised.

A survey of 609 male carers from across the UK , was conducted by the Carers Trust and the Men's Health Forum at the start of 2014. The survey's findings were supported by semi-structured interviews with Carers Trust Network Partners, which currently offer groups and activities specifically for male carers.

Key Findings:

  • Over 25% of male carers in employment said they do not describe or acknowledge themselves as a carer to others. There is a need to raise awareness of both the caring role that men undertake, and also the support that is available to them. Employers and employees must be aware of policies that support carers at work.
  • 53% of male carers felt the needs of male carers are different to the needs of female carers. Men often find themselves taking on the role of providing intimate or personal care for a suddenly dependent partner, and often it is the partner who has traditionally handled domestic duties in the household. For these men, it is essential that practical, supportive and non-stigmatising support is available to support their own wellbeing.
  • Employers should introduce carers leave to enable their employees to balance work and care. Local authorities should provide support that enables carers to work if they wish to. Employers should address male carers’ worries and concerns about the effect caring has on their work and employment opportunities.
  • 56% of male carers aged 18–64 said being a carer had a negative impact on their mental health. Health and social care professionals need to identify male carers and address their health needs.
  • Eight out of ten male carers who are unemployed or not currently working due to their caring role feel they miss out on spending time socially with other friends and family members. Support for male carers should have particular focus on addressing social isolation.
  • Four out of ten male carers never a get a break from their caring role and nearly half have not had a carer’s assessment. Male carers aged 18–64 are even less likely to have had a carer’s assessment than those over 65. GPs in particular need to identify male carers and ensure they are referred for assessment and support.
  • Local authorities should ensure that male carers are proactively identified and aware of the benefits of a carer’s assessment and how to access one.
  • Over half of male carers said they did not currently receive help and support from a local carers organisation. Over a quarter of these male carers said this was because they were not aware of the support that may be available to them. Commissioners should consider developing services to specifically meet the needs of male carers of all age groups. Health, care and carers organisations should ensure male carers are made aware of existing support available to them in their local area.

Resources Available

 

 

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