“Life as a ‘sandwich carer’ is demanding”

“Demanding and isolating” is how one carer from Birmingham has described his role.

Sadiq Muraj, from Birmingham, who looks after his wife and elderly father, lost his job in 2014 and has been their full-time carer since then.

The 58-year-old said: “It was during my search for more employment that my wife was diagnosed with cancer. My father’s health was also declining, so it became clear that I was needed at home. At the time it wasn’t a hard decision to make, but it did mean a huge life change for us all.

Someone who looks after two people in a caring role is sometimes referred to as a ‘sandwich carer’.  It is thought there are about 1.3 million people in the UK who have the dual responsibility of caring for sick, disabled or elderly relatives, as well as their own children.

 “Caring for two people is very demanding and insolating…”

Sadiq said: “Caring for two people is very demanding and insolating. Being a carer to anyone is hard going, but having two people to look after is even more challenging. The emotions I deal with on a daily basis can be a bit of a roller coaster. I am constantly worrying and my role puts an enormous strain on me and family life.”

More than a quarter of ‘sandwich carers’ are now reported to be suffering from depression and anxiety, according to new figures released from the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

It was because of how he was feeling that Sadiq decided he needed to get out and work. He found a part-time job with Forward Carers, which also launched the Working for Carer scheme. The initiative allows companies to better look after their staff, particularly those who may have responsibilities elsewhere.

Sadiq said: “I am incredibly grateful to Forward Carers for giving me a chance and for also developing this scheme, which is giving everyone in a caring role the chance to break the shackles that combining employment and caring.

“When I got the job it made a great difference to my life as it means I get out. I meet new people and I can largely forget about my home responsibilities for a few hours a week. It means when I get home I feel refreshed, which helps me be more patient for my family.”