Providing support and care from a distance

Family members and friends often provide support, help and care to others, instead or in addition to paid sources of care and support. These people (often referred to as carers, although this term is not embraced by all) are collectively estimated to save the UK economy £132 billion per year (according to figures from Carers UK in 2015) and have been the subject of much research and policy development. The majority of existing research about carers concerns those who support someone who lives with or near to them. However, as we become an increasingly geographically mobile population many parents, adult children, siblings, other relatives and friends may find themselves living at a distance from those they care for and about. A new research project at the University of Hull is working to find out more about the experiences of those who provide help, care and support to a relative or friend who lives at a distance from them (meaning that they have to travel for one hour or more to visit them).

We know that carers have many diverse experiences and circumstances and are interested in hearing from people from across the UK who provide help, support and care for relatives and friends who have dementia, learning or physical disabilities, are experiencing long term health conditions, mental health needs, or are ageing. We believe that people provide important help and support when their relative or friend lives at a distance and whether they live in their own homes, residential and nursing homes and NHS settings.

If you provide help, support or care to another adult (age 18 or over) who lives at a distance from you, you are invited to take part in this research. There are two ways you can do this. You can complete our confidential online questionnaire HERE. If you prefer we can send you a paper copy of the questionnaire along with an SAE; please contact Caroline White ( or 01482 463830). The questionnaire will ask about your experiences of providing care and support from a distance, including difficulties and challenges, as well as positive experiences and things that help. You can provide as much or as little information as you wish. We will use the findings to write a report which we will share with agencies and organisations (such as carers support organisations) to increase awareness of the experiences of people caring at a distance.

The survey is anonymous. This means we cannot thank the people who take part in the study. Therefore we would like to extend our thanks in advance to all who take part. We know that carers lead busy lives and appreciate your support and participation.

If you would like more information please contact Caroline White (see above) or follow us on Twitter @dist_care.