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Third of long-term carers haven't had day off in years

By Jane Kirby

Almost a third of long-term carers (32%) have not had a day off in five years, according to a new report.

The study found a lack of respite available for the 3,841 people surveyed who have been caring for five years or more.

Among all those who have been caring for a year or more (5,168), 40% have not had a day off for more than a year.

The report, from the charity Carers UK, warned that people were at "breaking point" due to the lack of support they receive, while some have seen a cut in the social care offered to them.

The study comes as new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that 8% of the UK private household population are informal carers for another person.

Of these, 59% are female and 29% spend 35 hours a week or more on caring.

This is often on top of holding down a job.

When women reach 50, they are likely to spend 5.9 years of their remaining life as unpaid carers, the figures also showed.

At 65, they spend 2.6 years as unpaid carers.

In contrast, men aged 50 are likely to spend 4.9 years of their remaining life as an unpaid carer and, at age 65, it is 2.7 years.

In the Carers UK report, 68% of those who have been caring for over a year and have not had a day off for more than a year say their physical health has worsened.

Meanwhile, 72% said their mental health has suffered.

Helena Herklots, chief executive of Carers UK, said: "Our research shows that carers are struggling to get a break because appropriate support for their loved ones isn't available or services are being cut or charged for. The need for an action plan on how Government will improve support is now urgent."

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