Public Attitudes towards Adult Social Care

New Statesman (1996), October 1, 2007 | Go to article overview

Public Attitudes towards Adult Social Care


What the public expect of social care services are far away from the reality of exisiting provision, a DRC commissioned survey by Ipsos MORI revealed. But a strong consensus on the need for social care to support independence and choice as well as a willingness to pay more taxes provides a clear pointer for future reform

Unpaid Care in Britain

There are approximately 6 million people providing unpaid care in the UK. Around 44,000 people (5%) aged 85 and over provided care, with half of these spending 50 or more hours a week caring. 45% of carers were aged bertween 45 and 64 years. Carers under 65 years are predominately women. Although the percentage of people providing care does not vary greatly by social group what does is the number of hours of care provided. More than a fifth of carers in routine occupations and over a third of carers who have never worked or are long term unemployed provided 50 hours of care per week. Only one in 12 carers in managerial professions provided similar levels of care.

The DRC's survey was conducted via face to face inteviews among a nationally representative quota sample of 2,053 adults aged 16+ throughout Great Britain. The survey consisted of questions which looked at various aspects of public awareness and attitudes to adult social care services.

Likelihood of Providing Care

Half of all respondents think that they would be able to provide regular long term unpaid care to a relative or close friend with a further one fifth of respondents (21%) thinking it likely that they could perform this role. Three in 10 respondents said it was fairly likely that they would be able to provide regular unpaid care. But more than a third (35%) of respondents said that they were unlikely to be able to provide regular unpaid care in the future.

People more likely to provide regular unpaid care in future are:

* 35-54 year olds (57%) versus 15-34 year olds (49%)

* People who are married/co-habiting (55%) versus people who are single (44%) and divoreced/widowed/separated (34%)

* Those earning [pounds sterling]30,000 and over (57%) versus those earning [pounds sterling]17,499 and under (48%)

* Those who know someone who is disabled or has a long term condition (55%) versus those who don't (39%)

Likelihood of Providing of Care

Q How likely, if at all, is it that you would be able to provide regular unpaid care in the future, if a close relative or friend became disabled or developed a long-term health condition?

Very likely                  21%
Fairly likely                29%
Neither likely nor unlikely  11%
Fairly unlikely              19%
Very likely                  16%
Don't know                    5%

Note: Table made from pie chart.

Family and Friends Providing Care

Informal care provided by family or close friends is the predominate means of support that the majority of respondents experienced. A quarter of respondents stated that members of their immdiate family (23%) or other family members (22%) provided care to older or working age relatives and friends who are disabled or have a long term health condition. Futhermore one fifth of people have friends (19%) providing care. Around a fifth of respondents (22%) mention social services as a source for care to relatives or friends who are disabled or have a long term condition.

Family and Friends Providing Care

Q Which of the following, if any that you know personally, currently provides care to older or working age relatives and friends who are disabled or have a long term health condition?

Immediate Family              23%
Other family members          22%
Social Services               22%
My Friends                    19%
My mother                     11%
My brother/sister              9%
My spouse                      7%
My father                      5%
My child/children              5%
My grandchild/grand children   2%
My stepchild/stepchildren      1%
None of the above             37%
Don't know/nothing             2%

Note: Table made from bar graph. … 

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