A new study has revealed that adults can have a 50 per cent chance of becoming a carer, with half of women expected to be carers by the age of 46.
Men can expect to have the same 50/50 chance of being a carer by the age of 57 – 11 years after women.
The research, carried out by Birmingham and Sheffield universities – for charity Carers UK – show that women can expect to take on caring duties over a decade before men.
Caring is a role that disproportionately affects women; the study has highlighted this gender disparity, and the need for improved services, to ensure fewer women need to give up work to take on a caring role.
It also suggests that two-thirds of UK adults can expect to become unpaid carers in their lifetime.
According to Carers UK, women have a 70 per cent chance overall of becoming a carer, while for men, it’s 60 per cent.
Their Will I Care? report showed that 65 per cent of adults had provided care for a loved one. The charity have also called for carers to receive five to 10 days of paid care leave.
Carers UK’s current Give Us a Break campaign highlights that 40 per cent of carers hadn’t had a day off for more than a year and 25 per cent hadn’t had a day off from caring for over five years.
The reports highlight the reality of life as a carer, and what more must be done to urgently support unpaid carers and the valuable work they do.
It is estimated that the work of unpaid carers saves the government £132 billion each year – almost enough to fund a second NHS.
Today (21 November) is Carers Rights Day. The day is celebrated every year to promote awareness to carers of the rights they are currently entitled to, and raise the profile of unpaid carers in wider society, to ensure their needs continue to be met.