Did you know that this county has an invisible army of older carers that are saving the Government billions every year?
New figures released by Age UK in May 2016, show that older relatives who care for their loved ones, save a massive £5.9 billion a year with their provision of unpaid care.
Over the last 7 years the number of carers over 80 years old has rocketed from 301,000 to 417,000, that’s a rise of 39%.
The majority of them provide care in their own home for more than 35hrs a week.
Help with care is available, but this is to a maximum of 4 calls per day, generally between 30-60mins each time.
This still leaves 20hours a day that the elderly carer has to look after their loved one.
They are also left on their own to manage through the most vulnerable time of the day – overnight.
It begs the question – who is caring for the carer? Who is supporting them? Who is giving them a rest? Who is there to provide and fund respite care?
Older couples try to manage living at home for as long as possible and lean on each other for support. It’s a natural thing to do.
But more needs to be spent on supporting them to do this – especially when one half of the couple if caring for a partner that is less able than themselves.
They care for a loved one because they are wholly committed to that person. There is often little alternative- but they can’t do it all on their own.
By not providing support we are taking advantage of their determination to do right by those they love.
I believe more daycare centres need to be available and affordable to allow the carer to have time off themselves. They need to be able to do the shopping or household chores. They need to have a rest!
At Broomgrove we offer respite care, to allow the carer to have a well deserved break and recharge their batteries but we are now in a minority.
We are now one of the only homes that offer this as most can’t afford to keep short term bed space available following the financial impact of the living wage.
Action is urgently needed to ensure older carers have the support they need and are not left caring alone by a shrinking support service.