This week is Carers Week, an initiative launched by charities hoping to highlight the plight unpaid carers face looking after others without support.
The awareness week has kicked off with worrying news that eight out of 10 unpaid carers fall ill as a direct result of their caring responsibilities. Two fifths of the 3,400 carers surveyed said they had put off finding medical help because it took the focus away from their caring responsibilities. Some reported serious consequences, such as damage to lungs and delayed cancer treatment.
Carers Week manager Helen Clarke said: “Unpaid carers save the Government a fortune – £119 billion a year – yet they’re let down in return. It is time for urgent action to tackle the crisis in social care.”
Now the government is offering extra support for carers, including regular health checks and access to better information and support.
However, councils admit they are struggling to meet the demand and sadly cuts are still being made to vital support services, despite the government pumping in additional funding.
With prolonged life-spans resulting in rapidly increasing numbers of elderly people unable to care for themselves, it’s clear to see that the government must find a way to fund care services in the future.
Ministers have promised a service overhaul, and a Department of Health spokesman said £400 million worth of NHS funding has been allocated to pay for carer’s breaks until 2015.
Breaks are essential for the health and wellbeing of carers, who often become physically and emotionally exhausted from working round the clock to care for their loved-ones.
Are you an unpaid carer in need of extra support? Please share your experiences as a carer in the comments box below.
Many counsellors specialise in supporting and helping carers. To find out more, please visit our Carers Support page.
Alternatively, contact a counsellor here.
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