“The pandemic has affected the lives of nearly everyone on the planet. In particular, it has had an unprecedented impact on a group of people already under strain: those who provide unpaid or informal care to loved ones in need.” – Carer Well-Being Index
The launch of the Embracing Carers Global Carer Well-Being Index earlier in the year, highlighted how COVID-19 has increased demands on unpaid carers across the globe. We were proud to have advised on this initiative and to have been a part of the first ever survey of carers to include those in India on a national scale.
The Carer Well-Being Index surveyed over 9,000 family carers across Europe, Asia, and the Americas, of which around 750 were in India, to find out how the pandemic has impacted this vulnerable group.
Below we have highlighted some of the findings around carers in India.
- 39% of unpaid carers in India stepped into the role for the first time due to the pandemic – the highest number in the countries surveyed globally.
- 73% of Indian carers are more burnt out than ever before.
- Many have experienced a decline in their physical (31%) and mental (47%) health due to the pandemic.
- 85% are concerned they will be unable to afford providing proper care in the future.
- Carers in India spend on average an additional 12 hours per week caregiving now, compared to before the pandemic.
- 85% of Indian carers say they need more instruction and training on telehealth resources for caregiving – far above the 12-country average of 68%.
- The pandemic has heightened most responsibilities for family carers, particularly in providing emotional support and managing technology needs, with the highest increase being recorded in India.
All carers are facing difficult times, but in India, low-income and Millennial carers face their own unique struggles. It is not surprising to see that the issues that have been shown to be of importance to these two groups are ones that are part of our model at Carers Worldwide, which taken together transform the holistic wellbeing of carers.
Millennial carers made up 56% of the Indian carers surveyed and many of them took on the role for the first time due to the pandemic (45% vs. 39% all Indian carers surveyed). Most Indian carers surveyed, but especially Millennials, (94% vs. 90% average Indian carer) believe that finding ways to connect with other carers will be an important factor in making sure they provide the best care they can for their loved one.
Low-income carers made up 51% of Indian carers surveyed and are especially struggling financially and need more support from public and private entities. Low-income carers are more likely than the average Indian carer surveyed to feel that COVID-19 has worsened their financial health (71% vs. 53% all India carers surveyed). And India’s low-income carers are more likely to indicate they have never received support, including financial or emotional, from private companies, non-profit organisations or advocacy groups and insurance organisations.
Through our work, Carers Worldwide seeks to address these two issues with our Carers Support Groups and Advocacy work. Carers Support Groups aim to reduce loneliness and isolation, creating social networks and supporting emotional wellbeing for carers. Our Advocacy work, strengthens the collective voice of carers to advocate for their needs and for the provision they require at community, regional and national level, with the aim of leading to changes in policy and practice.
It is so important that work like the Global Carer Well-Being Index is being done and the voices of unpaid family carers are being heard, especially in countries like India, where there is currently little to no recognition of and support for family carers.
“We, the carers, are doing a great job in keeping the person we care for safe from COVID-19. I am sure that one day we will get our deserved respect from the society. More power to us.” – 32 year old female from India caring for someone with an ongoing, long-term cognitive or mental condition.