Caring is often seen as a ‘female’ issue but it is something that affects a large number of men too. The 2011 Census found that in England and Wales more than 4 in 10 carers are male (42.3%) - amounting to 2.44 million men providing care, unpaid, for a friend or family member who due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction.
Despite their vast number, there has been little research to understand the experiences of these men or the vital role that they play in their families.
Carers Trust and the Men’s Health Forum sought to learn more about men’s experiences of caring, the impact it has on their lives and the support services they feel would be helpful to them. A total of 609 male carers from across the UK took part in a survey which included 119 fathers, all of whom were caring for a child or children with a disability, long term conditions or mental health or addiction issue. Dads care too: A survey of the experiences of fathers who are carers showcases the experiences of these dads.
- 119 dads responded, of all ages.
- The highest proportion (72%) care for a son or daughter with a learning disability or autism.
- Nearly 20% had been caring for 21 years or more.
- 35% cared alongside being in employment. 40% of those spent 60 or more hours caring per week.
- A third of dads reported that they never get a break.
- 46% said caring had a negative impact on their mental health, and 43% said it had a negative impact on their physical health.
- Almost three quarters said they missed out on spending time with friends and family members as a result of being a carer.
- The most common support wanted but not received was breaks from their caring role.
- 55% said they felt the needs of male carers were different from female carers.
- Many felt their role as a carer was not recognised, or that services were not designed in a way which met their needs.