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Financial problems caused by caring linked to increased feelings of social isolation

3 August 2017


  • Regional data is available in this report

Almost 40 per cent of carers who reported the most serious financial difficulties also felt socially isolated, according to a survey of 55,700 carers, which is published today.

The Personal Social Services Survey of Adult Carers in England 2016-172, published today by NHS Digital, reports on the views of 55,700 carers3 who are caring for a person aged 18 or over.

For carers who reported not having financial problems caused by their caring duties (54 per cent), almost 10 per cent felt socially isolated. Financial difficulties caused by caring responsibilities was the only variable found to have a statistically significant effect on every question analysed in this report.

The report also provides information relating to the carer and their wider experiences of providing care.

  • 21 per cent of carers surveyed have been providing unpaid care for over 20 years
  • 71 per cent of carers were extremely, very or quite satisfied with the support or services they received, compared to 13 per cent who were extremely, very or quite dissatisfied
  • 90 per cent of carers aged 85 and over (22,100) have caring responsibility for someone aged 75 or over
  • Of all carers, 76 per cent report 'feeling tired' and 64 per cent report they experienced 'disturbed sleep' as a result of their caring role
  • The average quality of life score for carers in England is 7.7 out of 124; carers who had a quality of life score lower than the national average are more likely to spend 50 hours a week or more on their caring responsibilities. The average quality of life score in the previous survey, in 2014-15, was 7.9. However, the population surveyed was different5

Read the full report at:


Notes to editors

  1.  NHS Digital is the national information and technology provider for the health and care system. Our team of information analysis, technology and project management experts create, deliver and manage the crucial digital systems, services, products and standards upon which health and care professionals depend. During the 2015/16 financial year, NHS Digital published 294 statistical reports. Our vision is to harness the power of information and technology to make health and care better. Find out more about our role and remit at
  2. The Personal Social Services Survey of Adult Carers in England (SACE) takes place every other year and is conducted by councils with Adult Social Services Responsibilities. The survey seeks the opinions of carers aged 18 or over who are known to be caring for a person aged 18 or over and living in England. Findings from the survey are used to populate a number of measures in the Adult Social Care Outcomes Framework (ASCOF).

  3. Carers were sent questionnaires in the period October to November 2016, to seek their opinions on a number of topics that are considered to be indicative of a balanced life alongside their caring role.

  4. The carer-reported quality of life score gives an overarching view of the quality of life of carers. The measure combines individual responses to six questions measuring different outcomes relating to overall quality of life. The outcomes map to six domains; occupation, control, personal care, safety, social participation and encouragement and support.

  5. In 2016-17 the eligible population changed so that in addition to including carers that have had a carer's assessment or review from the local authority in the 12 months prior to the survey taking place, carers are now also included who have not been assessed or reviewed during the previous 12 months. Due to the change in eligible population, comparisons have not been made to the 2014-15 survey data.

  6. All figures over a thousand have been rounded to the nearest hundred, all percentages have been rounded to the nearest whole percentage point.

  7. For media enquiries please contact or telephone 0300 30 33 888.

Last edited: 11 April 2018 5:35 pm