Family carers save taxpayers around £90 billion a year by providing unpaid care to their loved ones, but to date have little support, financial or otherwise.
“Whilst they care because of love and duty they should not have to struggle so hard emotionally and financially when they are doing the right thing” said Paul Green, Saga Respite for Carers Trust.
“Unlike most workers in the UK, they cannot simply head off for a few days to get a break, indeed many are fortunate if they get a few hours to themselves to try and recharge their batteries.
“The fact is that being a family carer is a 24/7, 365 days a year role without the support or breaks that other workers might receive, and this simply drives many to the point of emotional and physical exhaustion.
A Saga survey showed that whilst funding was a key concern for carers, one of the biggest issues is the fact that almost a quarter (24 per cent) have never taken a proper break from their caring responsibilities. The number that have never taken a holiday rises to 31 percent among those who have been carers for more than 10 years. Despite repeated government commitment to provide funding for respite breaks, their failure to ring fence the money means than in many cases the money is simply not being used for the purpose for which it was intended.
“The Saga Respite for Carers Trust is doing what government should do – provide respite breaks for long-term unpaid carers.” Continued Mr Green, “Nominations and stories sent to the Saga Respite for Carers Trust paints a very stark picture of the lives of carers, one that shows that many are reaching the end of their tether, their own health affected by the constant stress and demands of looking after a chronically ill or disabled loved one.”
Nominations can be made on line at saga.co.uk/saga-charitable-foundation
The deadline for nominations to the trust is 31st August 2013. Terms apply.
Alternatively nomination forms can be obtained by writing to Saga Respite for Carers Trust , The Saga Building, Enbrook Park, Folkestone, Kent CT20 3SE.
There are in the region of 6 million Carers in the UK, split regionally as follows:
East of England 520,209
East Midlands 435,741
North East 276,593
North West 724,802
Northern Ireland 185,066
South East 737,751
South West 495,442
West Midlands 558,421
Yorkshire & The Humber 518,211