Aberdeen is facing a care timebomb with most carers aged over 50 and facing retirement, according to a new report.
The city’s Health and Social Care Strategy for Carers 2018- 2021 reveals that some 57% of the city’s 38,000 carers fall into the age group.
A majority also hold other jobs (56%) and provide more than 35 hours of care a week (51%).
The local survey reported that 72% said their health or mental wellbeing had suffered, 41% had to reduce their working hours or retire early and 65% reported feeling lonely and isolated due to their caring.
The report will be presented to the Aberdeen Health and Social Care Partnership’s Integrated Joint Board (IJB) next week.
It is recommended new support groups are put in place to provide much-needed respite while discussions with employers over flexibility will also be discussed.
The report reads: “All of the commitments in this strategy are about ensuring that carers are supported to have a life alongside caring if they choose to do so.”
It is estimated that the UK’s 788,000 unpaid carers contribute £10.8billion to the UK economy.
IJB board member Faith Robertson-Foy has been caring for her 74-year-old father Robert in some capacity since his heart attack 30 years ago.
A passionate advocate for unpaid carers, she added that her caring had stepped up significantly after her mother’s death 14 years ago but she still holds down another full time job.
Earlier this year she ran to be elected as a councillor on a platform of providing free travel to carers.
The 44-year-old said: “Being in school when everything happened was really scary, I was just a girl and in a way it made me have to grow up.
“I think people just don’t realise how many people there are in caring, everyone will know someone even if they don’t identify as a carer.
“There is a problem with ageing as well and caring can often lead to its own health problems.
“I have very little time to attend social activities with friends as dad comes first. If I do attend anything I try and bring him along too.
“I would really encourage any carers out there to read the draft report and make their comments known.”