15th July 2014Category: General
More than four in ten (42%) of the UK’s unpaid carers are male, dispelling the stereotype that caring is a female issue, according to a new report launched today by Carers Trust, the largest charity for carers in the UK and the Men’s Health Forum, the charity that works to improve men's health services and the health of men.
The report ‘Husband, Dad, Son, Boyfriend, Carer?’ was commissioned by Carers Trust to look into the experiences and needs of male carers and to help raise awareness of the fact that male carers may not be getting the support they need.
The report, which surveyed more than 600 male carers found that:
• More than one in four male carers in employment would not describe or acknowledge themselves as a carer to others, meaning they may not get the support they need at work;
• Over half of the male carers (53%) surveyed felt that the needs of male carers were different to those of female carers, many citing that men find it harder to ask for help and support and that balancing work and caring is challenging, particularly if they are the main earner.
The report also found that:
• One quarter (26.3%) of men surveyed cared for more than 60 hours per week and worked;
• Four in ten male carers said that they never had a break from their caring role;
• 56% of male carers aged 18-64 said being a carer had a negative impact on their mental health and 55% said that their health was “fair or poor”;
• Male carers not working due to their caring role, or who are unemployed felt especially isolated.
Male carers under 65 in England are also more likely to visit their GP than the rest of the male population, visiting four times per year – but despite this their health is often still poor and many are not identified as being male carers and so do not get support.
Male carers interviewed as part of the research commented:
“I am not able to attend to mum’s personal hygiene care, I did try but I felt awkward.”
“I believe our society look upon male carers differently to female carers, it is often expected of a daughter/granddaughter to provide care whereas a male relative is often thought of as a wage earner.”
Martin Tod, chief executive of the Men’s Health Forum said: “The UK’s 2.5 million male carers have been ignored for too long. They make a vital contribution, but face real extra health and work challenges that aren’t always properly addressed. Employers need to recognise that men can be carers too – and health and social care services needs to do more to address the physical and mental health needs of male carers - especially the hidden carers who may not be known to the system. Both employers and health services need to do more to provide the tailored support that male carers need.”