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For caregivers in the UK, the holidays are not a time to relax and enjoy family away from the responsibilities of work.
Instead, a new study reveals that 69 percent of carers will not get a break this holiday season – and half of them have never had a break during the Christmas period. An astonishing 39 percent have not taken a single day off in the last year.
The study, conducted by disability charity Vitalise, left a stark portrait of the emotional and physical strain on carers who fail to take breaks. More than 80 percent put the health of their loved one ahead of their own. Almost 60 percent self-reported depression caused by the lack of time away from their responsibilities. As many as 60 percent admitted to resulting anger at the person they were caring for. This happens despite the fact that 46 percent say that a break energizes them and makes them feel more capable. When carers are able to take time off, 21 percent say they feel guilty afterwards.
The biggest obstacle for the carer to take time off is the belief that nobody else would be able to care for their loved one. Guilt for leaving them and worry that they would not be cared for properly rounded out the top three reasons for not enjoying a respite.
The UK provides support for unpaid caregivers. “Many carers don’t even know they are carers,” explained Vitalise Chief Executive Chris Simmonds, “so they are not claiming the support that’s available to them and they are at dire risk of burning out as a result. Even the carers who know they are entitled to support are not taking breaks because they are terrified of what might happen to their loved ones if they do. They simply have no confidence in the quality of suitability of the respite care on offer.”
Source: Vitalise, MedicalNewsToday
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