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How the rising cost of living is affecting carers
How are carers coping?

We are inundated with news about the rising cost of living. For many of us, this is worrying, however for millions of unpaid carers, who already have lower income and increased costs from caring, it is forcing many into debt and despair. We spoke to some carers to find out how the cost of living is affecting them.

9 in 10


are worried about the rising cost of living


of carers

are losing sleep because they are worrying about how to afford the basic essentials

1 in 5


not accessing financial support didn’t realise that help was available to them

Charlotte’s story

Charlotte has been caring for her Mum, Kayla, since she was 15 when her caring duties meant that she was at home more than in school. Now 21, Charlotte is unable to hold down a job because she needed so much time off to look after. 

“Up until recently we were homeless and sleeping in our car, so money is really tight. Last month we had to make a decision whether to get glasses so Mum could see, or go without food. Thankfully the food bank helped us.”

Charlotte is living cheque to cheque, and they often can’t afford the basic essentials. “I can’t find the money for driving lessons, so if Mum is having a bad day then we can’t drive to get her prescription or get to her hospital appointments. I had to pay for a taxi to get Mum to A&E recently. It was easier to skip meals than wait 8 hours for the ambulance.”

The stress of money and rising prices is affecting both Charlotte and Kayla. Both told us the worry is impacting on their mental health and the anxiety is making Kayla’s health conditions worse. “She’s having more bad days, than good days now.” Charlotte now suffers from insomnia and depression.

“This winter is going to be a real struggle. We already wrap up in blankets and duvets to keep warm and sometimes we go without the lights. I don’t know what else we can cut back”

Alan’s story

“I’ve had to learn to accept help from family and friends.”

Alan became a carer overnight when his wife Denise was rushed to hospital and diagnosed with terminal cancer on their 27th wedding anniversary.

“We were visiting family in the UK, and I found myself stuck with nowhere to live and no idea what was going on. I only had hand luggage with me. I had become homeless overnight.”

Denise was in hospital for many weeks so Alan had to close his business in southern Ireland and sell most of his belongings. Thanks to the help from Carers First and the Peabody Trust, Alan and his wife are now in Council housing. However, life is far from easy, with Alan unable to work because Denise needs him full-time.

“We only spend money on what we need. No takeaways; we don’t use the boiler for hot water. We use an air fryer instead of the oven as that’s cheaper to run. We also try and grow our own vegetables. We don’t watch TV as we don’t have a licence.”

The thought of prices going up is worrying Alan. “Heating or eating is a real decision that people have to make”, he tells us. “It’s a constant worry that keeps me from sleeping. We will probably end up going into debt because we need to pay the electricity for showers and to charge Denise’s wheelchair.”

Alan explains that being a carer can be very isolating, but he can only afford to run the car to take Denise to her hospital appointments.

“My brother recently paid the petrol so we could go and visit him. Not long ago, it would have been me taking the whole family out for dinner. I’ve found it hard to learn to accept help from family and friends. Thankfully there are some good people out there.”

Do you need financial support? Find out what help is available to you