Wednesday, 2 July 2014

The Former Carers Study Exploring the experiences of former carers in the UK

Thank you for your interest in our research on former carers. 

Former carers comprise a relatively large group of people in the UK 

but their voices are not often heard or listened to. 

By former carers we mean, men and woman 

who have looked after a spouse, relative, friend or neighbour 

and who received no payment or wage for the care they provided. 

Our research study has been designed to gather the views 

and experiences of former carers in the UK.

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Tell me more about the study

The Former Carers Study will explore the experiences of people who were previously unpaid carers but for whom caregiving has come to an end. Unpaid carers provide the majority of care for people living in the community. 

Current estimates from the 2011 Census put the number of carers in the UK at 6.5 million. However, this population is constantly changing with 30% to 40% unpaid carers starting to provide care each year and a similar proportion stopping. These figures suggest that the population of former or ex-carers is increasing in size and will continue to do so as numbers of carers are projected to rise in the UK due to an increasing ageing population and a reduction in the availability of formal service provision.

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Why is the study important?

Taking part in the Former Carers Study is a unique opportunity to be a part of a large nationwide survey. It is a comprehensive and detailed study focusing on the experiences of men and women who once provided unpaid care for a spouse, child, relative, friend or neighbour but that has now come to an end.

The study is important because it includes carers from different areas of the country, diverse cultures and backgrounds, and varied family types and traditions. This will allow researchers to focus on issues that are important to the diverse UK carer population.

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Who can take part in the study?

Male or female former and unpaid carers of any age for whom caregiving came to an end between 6 months and 5 years ago. This is because we don't want to upset recently bereaved carers but nor do we want participants whose experience was so long in the past that they not be able to remember clearly how they felt at the time.

Former carers from any ethnic background who feel comfortable with reading and understanding written English as the survey questionnaire are not available in alternative languages.

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Information about the researchers

This study is being conducted by researchers from the Faculty of Health and Social Care at The Open University. 

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