Providing care out of guilt – new research into family carers

June 9, 2017

New research has found that nearly half of the family carers surveyed are providing care out of guilt.

According to research by Prestige Nursing + Care, 46% of adults who currently provide care for a family member say a main reason for doing so is guilt. This outnumbers the 31% who say that unpaid care is provided within the family because they believe they cannot afford to pay for professional care.

The research finds that 62% of adults surveyed would prefer to be cared for by a family member in the comfort of their own home if the need arose, but many are aware of the pressures this can create within families. Three quarters (75%) of adults would feel guilty if they couldn’t care for a family member themselves but at the same time, 73% would feel guilty if they themselves needed care and a family member had to provide it.

Half of people who are currently receiving care (50%) feel their choice of care services was compromised by guilt or emotional distress. Almost one in four people (24%) receiving care experienced tension and resentment within their family when decisions were made, while almost one in three (30%) felt like a burden during the care decision-making process.

The findings suggest a sense of guilt may be clouding families’ decisions and adding to the pressures they face when making care arrangements. These pressures are exacerbated by the lack of preparation and widespread discomfort about discussing care support within the family.

Two in five (42%) people who expect to need care within the next ten years would, in fact, be happy if a family member refused to provide care and left them needing professional help. One in three (32%) would be relieved to be cared for by someone with professional training and skills, provided this was in the home environment, with 42% of those surveyed happy to be supported by a carer at home.

Moving away from the home to receive care was viewed less favourably: given a choice, just 20% of people would opt for sheltered accommodation or retirement housing, and just 6% would prefer to move into a residential care home.

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