Figures in the painting of a disturbing picture of caregivers, especially those aged between 17 and 30, under untenable pressure. Nearly 229,000 told researchers that they had a hungry household member during the lockout.
Christie, who is in her 30s, takes care of her 76-year-old mother who has epilepsy, physical needs and struggles with her mental health.
“Throughout the pandemic, I was taken care of for the mom on my own,” she said. “We both had the armor, but I used the food banks, otherwise we just wouldn’t have had enough to eat.”
The research, conducted by the universities of Sheffield and Birmingham, in partnership with the Caregivers Association, UK, adds a worrying picture of caregivers facing intolerable pressures after coronavirus struck.
Research done by UK Caregivers in April has shown that 70% of those caring for more than 50 hours per week are to provide even more care during the pandemic, and 55% said to the charity they feel overwhelmed managing their responsibilities. Over 80% had to spend more on basic necessities such as food and household bills.
Professor Sue Yeandle, head of sustainability, care program at the University of Sheffield, said: “Our study results should worry us all. That in April 2020, people in many caregivers, households were hungry and needed to use a food bank to have enough to eat must surely shock the nation.
“Our results urgently call for government action to help caregivers struggle to cope,” she adds. “It cannot be right that caregivers are hidden from view, with declining mental well-being, or from facing hunger and food poverty as they take care of those of us who have need support. ”
Helen Walker, CEO of UK Caregivers, said: “This pandemic is pushing unpaid carers to the breaking point, physically and mentally. It is simply unacceptable that caregivers are having to go hungry because they have no support.
“Surely when the majority of caregivers provide even more care for their loved ones during this pandemic, and spend more on it, do they deserve some help?” she added. “The government must take into account the impact of the pandemic on caregivers, finances and job prospects and raise allowance urgently.”
UK caregivers wants to see the allowance raised from £ 67.25 a week and a supplemental coronavirus of € 20 per week paid to those entitled to the allowance to accommodate the surge it has made for those who receive universal credit to cover additional costs during the pandemic.
A government spokesperson said: “We recently announced an additional £ 63m to support those struggling to buy food and other basic needs due to coronavirus.
“The allowance rate has recently been increased and we are working closely with caregivers organizations to further support carers during this epidemic, including funding to extend Carers UK helpline business hours in order to help carers paid are able to access reliable information and advice. ”