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Over 121,000 people in Wales become carers for older, sick or disabled loved ones every year

by Beth Evans 28 November 2014
  • That’s more than 600,000 people in Wales to become unpaid carers in the next five years
  • 21,000 carers in Wales are missing out on £66million of unclaimed Carer’s Allowance
  • 42 per cent of carers across the UK miss out on financial support

New research by the charity Carers UK reveals that an estimated 121,320 people in Wales take on a new unpaid caring role for relatives for relatives and friends who are sick or disabled each year but, unless changes are made, will be left under-equipped to deal with the challenges of caring.

The analysis, published to coincide with national Carers Rights Day on Friday 28 November, shows that as our population ages, the pressure on families in Wales to provide care and support to loved ones will continue to increase.

The research estimates that 119,460 carers in Wales will find themselves in a new caring role every year, facing new challenges and often trying to juggle work and other family responsibilities with looking after an older, disabled or seriously ill relative or friend. This works out as just under 6,000 people a day or 10.6 million over the next five years. A caring role also ends for 2.1 million people across the UK; 119,460 in Wales.

 Keith Bowen, Director of Carers Wales said: 

“Taking on a new caring role can happen quite suddenly and people can be thrown into a situation which turns their lives upside down. It could be because a partner has a stroke, a parent has a fall or a child is born with a disability. It’s vital that anyone caring for a loved one seeks advice to ensure they are getting the services and support they are entitled to.

“Without help and assistance carers can find themselves facing financial hardship, health problems, emotional stress and relationship breakdown. They can be pushed to breaking point. This has serious consequences for individuals and families and for employers and the UK economy as a whole.

“A third of people caring at any one time will be new to that role. This presents a big challenge for services, local authorities and the NHS as they need to identify and reach out to new carers who are not accessing essential help and support. With the Social Services and Well-being Act coming into force in April 2016 there will be an opportunity to get this right for carers.  However, Carers Wales is concerned that the proposed repeal of the Carers Strategies (Wales) Measure 2010 will weaken strategic planning for carers”.

Previous studies have shown that £1.1 billion of Carer’s Allowance goes unclaimed every year in the UK and 42 per cent of carers across the UK have missed out on financial support as a result of not getting the right information earlier. In Wales 21,000 carers are missing out on more than £66million in unclaimed Carer’s Allowance.

Carers Rights Day, organised by Carers UK, brings together more than 900 organisations across the UK every year to help carers in local communities to know their rights.

Carers UK is calling on public bodies to make a number of changes to help carers access the support and services they are entitled to. These include a legal duty on health and education professionals to identify and support carers, improved access to information and advice and better partnership working between Government departments.

New Carers Rights Guide

Carers Wales has also launched a new Carers Rights Guide - Looking after someone and a new factsheet called Assessments: your guide to getting help to help carers find financial and practical support.

Download these, along with the Need to Know report, below.


Media contact

Keith Bowen – Director, Carers Wales
02920 811370  Mobile:  07900 958 158

Beth Evans – (Welsh Language) Information and Communications Officer, Carers Wales
02920 811370 Mobile: 07854 533822

Notes

The research was carried out by Michael Hirst of the Social Policy Research Unit at the University of York on behalf of Carers UK.   

Carers Rights Day is organised by Carers UK and the Carers Rights Guide is sponsored by Sainsbury’s plc.   

Carers UK is a charity led by carers, for carers - our mission is to make life better for carers.

  • We give expert advice, information and support
  • We connect carers so no-one has to care alone
  • We campaign together for lasting change
  • We innovate to find new ways to reach and support carers

Facts about carers:

  • 370,230 people in Wales are carers and this number continues to rise. (Across the UK there are 6.5 million people caring for a loved one who is older, seriously ill or disabled. This number is set to rise to 9 million by 2037.  
  • Full-time carers are twice as likely to be in bad health as non-carers.
  • An estimated 2.3 million people have given up work at some point to care for older or disabled loved ones, and 3 million have cut working hours.
  • Over 1.4 million people care for over 50 hours a week.  
  • Carers save the economy an estimated £119 billion per year (In Wales this figure equates to £7.72 billion per year) with the unpaid care they provide, this represnts an average of £18,473 per carer across the UK  

Source: Facts about carers (2014) Carers Wales  

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