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Uncertainty for ‘worn out’ unpaid carers in Wales post-pandemic

JUST one in ten (11%) exhausted unpaid carers in Wales are confident that the support they receive with caring will continue following the COVID-19 pandemic.

After an extraordinarily challenging year providing many more hours of care for loved ones during the pandemic1 – coping with reduced support from health and care services as well as limited help from family and friends – unpaid carers are seriously worried about the support they will have to help them care in the future.

Research released for Carers Week (7th – 13th June 2021) found that 72% of carers in Wales have not had any breaks from their caring role during the pandemic. Of those who got a break, almost a third (30%) used the time to complete practical tasks or housework, and a quarter (25%) to spend time with friends and family.

Three quarters (73%) reported being exhausted as a result of caring during the pandemic.
Two in five (40%) carers in Wales said they feel unable to manage their unpaid caring role.

The six charities supporting Carers Week – Carers Wales, part of Carers UK; Age UK, Carers Trust, Motor Neurone Disease Association, Oxfam GB and Rethink Mental Illness – are calling on the UK and Welsh Governments to ensure unpaid carers providing significant hours of care get the breaks they need.

Claire Morgan, Director of Carers Wales, said:
“Carers are exhausted having cared around the clock for more than a year, and do not know how they can continue without a break. Many are worried that the support services they rely on will not continue in the future.

Without the right support, the stress of the last year could lead to far more carers breaking down. It is essential that Welsh Government commits to ensuring unpaid carers who have undertaken the most intense caring can access the breaks needed as a matter of urgency. We are asking for a solid funding commitment for carer breaks and more investment in social care support.”

69% of carers in Wales responding to the Carers Week survey reported poor mental health, while similar numbers (68%) said their physical health had deteriorated.

Almost two thirds of carers (61%) say they are worried about continuing to care without a break.

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