The number of people caring for someone with cancer in the UK has risen to almost 1.5 million, new figures show.
According to one leading charity, this is an increase of almost a third in the past five years. Family and friends are now spending an average of 17.5 hours a week looking after a loved one who is affected, said Macmillan Cancer Support.
One in five of those surveyed care for someone with cancer for more than 35 hours a week. The figures come from a YouGov survey of more than 6,000 cancer carers aged 16 and over in the UK.
The estimated number of those carers in 2016 was 1,416,000 compared with 1,080,000 in 2011.
Macmillan is calling on the government to recognise the specific needs of such people in the new carers' strategy for England. It also wants the government to set out a clear plan of how carers will be able to get help and support.
Fran Woodard, of Macmillan Cancer Support, said there was an urgent need to ensure the right support was in place for people caring for loved ones with cancer.
"One of the reasons carers don't get support is because they don't know it's available. In fact, many don't consider themselves to be carers because they're acting out of kindness and love.
"We simply can't expect carers to keep bearing the brunt so we need to support health and social care professionals to let carers know that there is help available which they're entitled to."
The Department of Health is consulting on how it can improve support for carers. People have until 30 June to submit their views.
Alzheimer’s Research UK, the UK’s leading dementia research charity, has committed £50m to the UK Dementia Research Institute (DRI) over the next 10 years.
The DRI was launched in 2015 and will bring together world leading expertise in discovery science in the fight against dementia. It will place the UK at the centre of a global effort to tackle the disease aiming to accelerate the pace of research and develop much needed new treatments.
There are an estimated 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK and this figure is expected to double over the next 20 years. The devastating disease costs the NHS, local authorities and families around £26 billion each year but there are currently no treatments available that can stop or reverse the disease. This is primarily because of our limited understanding of how dementia develops.
Alzheimer’s Research UK will also bring significant added value to its investment by developing formal links between the Institute and key Alzheimer’s Research UK strategic initiatives, such as its Drug Discovery Alliance, the Dementia Consortium and the Alzheimer’s Research UK Research Network.
As well as the investment from Alzheimers Research UK, the Alzheimer’s Society have also pledged £50million, with £150million originally pledged by the government when the DRI was launched.
Age UK says one in seven of the "oldest old" - an estimated 417,000 people in all - now provides some sort of unpaid care to family or friends.
Over half of these clock up more than 35 hours a week.
Many are exhausted and say they worry about how long they might be able to carry on, says the charity.
The findings come from a yearly representative household survey of 15,000 people aged 60 and older. The results were multiplied to give an estimate for the whole of the UK.
In 2009, an estimated 301,000 people in their 80s were carers. That figure has now risen by nearly 40%, largely due to an ageing population but partly due to a lack of state support, says Age UK.
Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, said: "The task of providing care ought to be fairly shared between individuals, families and the state, but as public funding falls further and further behind the growing demand for care, we worry that very old people are being expected to fill the gap. They can't do it all on their own and we shouldn't take advantage of their determination to do right by those they love."
The charity Carers UK called for extra investment in social care services and the NHS to meeting the increasing demand.
The Department of Health is consulting on how it can improve support for carers. People have until 30 June 2016 to submit their views.
Community and Social Care Minister Alistair Burt said: "We owe a great deal to the love and determination of older carers.
"I want to make sure the government does everything it can to support them. That is why I am calling on carers and their supporters up and down the country to let us know how we can make a difference."
Caring can involve anything from help with washing and dressing to looking after people with dementia. The government says caring for others should not be to the detriment of the carer's own health and wellbeing and carers can receive support in a number of ways - including from social services, the NHS, or the benefit system.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) have published their latest business plan for the next 12 months (April 2016 to March 2017), this sets out the first phase of their five-year strategy for health and safety adult social care in England. The CQC are the independent regulatory body for health and social care services in England, set up to ensure people are provided with safe, effective, compassionate and high quality care.
Their plan for 2016/17 is set in the context of the increasing pressures faced by the health and care system in England, driven by changing care needs and financial demands on all public services. Providers and staff are being asked to deliver significant efficiency savings to ensure that the health and care system remains sustainable for the future, while meeting the more complex needs of the population, including those with multiple comorbidities and older people.
As a result, the way in which health and social care is delivered has begun to undergo a fundamental transformation - providers are changing the way services are organised and how they deliver care in response to pressure and opportunities to do things differently.
The way the CQC regulates these services is evolving to reflect these changes, although their purpose will remain unchanged, their focus will be on regulating for quality in a time of limited public finances. For 2016/17 their priorities will be as follows:
- Deliver our approach to regulation
- Shape the future of health and care regulation.
- Build an effective, efficient, learning and values-based CQC
- Demonstrate the difference CQC makes
To view the report please visit http://www.cqc.org.uk/content/business-plan-201617
This week is Dementia Awareness Week and the Alzheimer's Society are encouraging anyone who is worried about dementia to confront their concerns and get in touch with them. The Alzheimer's Society have created a video to generate awareness and also have a range of ways you can get involved and support this campaign.
Hundreds of thousands of families are touched by dementia every year and many people don't know where to turn. They know dementia can be scary but you don’t have to face it alone.
If you're worried that you, or someone close to you, might have dementia, call the National Dementia Helpline on 0300 222 1122 or email email@example.com for advice and support.