Our online survey was completed by 59 respondents including young carers, young adult carers and parents, helping us to understand the pressures they have been experiencing over the past 3 months.
For many, caring responsibilities have increased.
The majority of parents and young carers say being in lockdown has made a difference to their child’s caring role – parents describe how ‘its intensified’, ‘they have to do more’, ‘its much harder work’ and ‘much more stressful’.
This is echoed by the young carers themselves ‘it’s more full on’, ‘It’s constant because none of my siblings are at school’, ‘I don’t get a break’ , ‘my caring role has become a full-time thing’.
One young carer relates how caring responsibilities have increased due the pressures of lockdown on her mum’s mental health – ‘I’ve had to do a lot more than usual to manage it. We are having to make sure my mum stays okay at a time when she is having multiple breakdowns a day, because all her usual healthy coping mechanisms aren’t possible anymore. Everyday is a bad day for her right now’.
Families are experiencing increased stress, parents are worried about their children’s emotional health.
- 2/3rds of parents reported increased stress since lockdown began .
- 7 out of 10 young carers agree that such a long time spent at home in close proximity has put a strain on their family relationships.
- However, both young carers and their parents all describe positive aspects of being at home with their families, more quality time, able to do things like baking and less rushing around. One parent describes how she has enjoyed ‘Being together as a family. Learning as a family. Growing as a family’.
- Not surprisingly 9 out of 10 of young carers surveyed said they missed their friends. They describe the worst aspects of lockdown as having no space to escape, difficulty staying motivated, and a lack of real time social contact.
- 84% of parents are worried about the impact of lockdown on their child’s emotional health.
Challenges of Home Education and Digital Access
- A third of young carers have attended school during this time. They report positive impacts ‘She’s done more work and it’s a break from caring for her’ and others describe how it has kept a routine for their children. For those who have had children learning at home, all respondents agreed that ‘home has not been an easy place for their children to study in’. However, some parents reported they were enjoying finding out more about what their children were studying.
- Only half of the families surveyed reported that they ‘had full access to broadband and all the devices they needed to study and connect’.
- A third of families report sharing phones/tablets to enable their children to complete schoolwork and connect with others.
- 1 in 10 have limited access to the internet.
Worried about the future – but looking forward to doing simple things again.
Many of the young carers and their families are concerned about a ‘second spike’ as the UK slowly comes out of Lockdown, especially as health issues could make them more vulnerable to the threat of COVID-19.
Understandably, Young carers and their parents were looking forward to returning to ‘normal life’- especially seeing friends and extended family, others mentioned looking forward to swimming, travelling, going to the beach and hugs.