UNPAID carers are spending "significantly" more than last year looking after loved ones, a charity has claimed.
New figures reveal 1 in 3 carers are feeling cost of living pressures forking out an average of £400 a year on energy efficient measures.
Not-for-profit organisation Smart Energy GB polled 1,000 non-professional carers and found a damming 92% believe not enough is being done to help with increased financial pressures.
Phillippa Brown from Smart Energy GB said: “Unpaid carers take on a huge amount of responsibility looking after friends or family, and the cost of living crisis is only making their role more challenging.
“But it’s important to know that even small things can really help to ease the burden on carers and ensure their loved ones are prepared for the colder months."
Some of the biggest costs include replacing lightbulbs with LEDs (49 per cent), bleeding radiators (42 per cent), servicing boilers (35 per cent) and investing in better quality curtains (35 per cent).
Almost all of those looking after the most vulnerable believe that getting the home ready for the bitterly cold months ahead is essential.
One top of caring for the most vulnerable, 80 per cent say they've had to take on responsibility for more aspects of life which they previously knew little about.
The most common things unpaid carers have had to learn more about is managing energy use (65 per cent), food prices (61 per cent) and budgeting (48 per cent).
More than eight in ten (83 per cent) say they're more stressed, with seven in ten (71 per cent) saying managing the cost of living has been one of the toughest things they've had to face as carers.
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Energy-saving measures such as investing in a smart meter have helped one in three (34 per cent) carers measure bills and usage.
Phillippa added: “Getting a smart meter will help the person that you care for get accurate bills, remove the need to take meter readings, and allow them and you to track their energy usage more easily.”
Questions over whether enough is being done to support these key workers are rising with carers saying they need financial support (74 per cent) and help managing their energy bills (54 per cent).
Madeleine Starr MBE from Carers UK added: “Unpaid carers and the people they are caring for are struggling to pay for essentials such as heating and electricity which is crucial for the people they support."
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“It is imperative that carers and the person they are caring for can keep their energy costs as low as possible."
“Smart Energy GB’s report highlights that even little steps, such as draughtproofing your home, can help carers achieve this.”
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