Home Instead survey reveals unseen emotional toll of caregiving

Home Instead UK is the only home care provider to be awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise, delivering 10 million hours of care in people’s homes in 2023. With 250 offices across the UK, they provide care right at the heart of local communities and support more families than any other home care provider.

Home Instead are highlighting the troubling finds of their recent survey of 2000 UK family caregivers. They hear the stories of families in crisis every day and see firsthand how they struggle to navigate a confusing social care market – but the results of their survey paint a stark picture about the unseen emotional toll that their caregiving is having on them and their families:

  • 88% admit to neglecting their own health and wellbeing 
  • 65% say they are struggling with their mental health
  • 49% feel stressed, 57% exhausted
  • 31% feel they are at breaking point

As well as 88% who feel guilty about neglecting their own health and well-being, the research reveals that:

  • 86% say they’re feeling guilty about not doing enough for their parents or their children. 
  • 71% feel guilt about not being able to put enough into work, 75% about neglecting careers
  • 78% feel that way about their marriage/relationship, 85% about other relationships (friendships)

The full survey data can be found here.

The research inspired their new campaign “Take Care” – featuring three characters, Sue, Colin and Fiona who are struggling to cope with caring for their parents as well as their own family responsibilities. It is a raw and unapologetic look at what it means to be a family caregiver in the UK today.

Helen Brown, Director of Home Instead Portsmouth, said “It is clear that we need a complete rethink on how we manage this care challenge. We must find better and workable solutions – professional solutions; and increase the understanding of and trust in the capable, qualified, and regulated care professionals who are there to support. It is not a failure to accept such care; it is a vital lifetime that benefits the whole family. It is my firm belief that private providers play an important role in offering choice, being able to respond to local needs with more agility and provide emergency resilience which public sector services can rely on in times of need. Home care remains an underserved, unrecognised partner in the healthcare ecosystem despite our size, skill and scope to deliver lifesaving and lifechanging support to older adults.

“It’s clear from our research that some of your constituents, patients, and clients may be struggling with the responsibility to care for their ageing parents all by themselves. I’m writing to invite you to meet with me to discuss how, by engaging with local community businesses and health services, we can together help signpost those families who are facing such challenges. By increasing the understanding of homecare and gaining a deeper knowledge of the breadth of services we provide in the community, it is my hope that you can support me in advocating for all older adults and their families to continue to live independently at home and to be aware of the quality provision that is available to them to do that before they face a crisis.

“Thank you to you all for what you do in our communities. Please share this with your colleagues and help us to help those who need us.”