Why carers need our support

by Susan Court Project Manager, Caring for Carers project in Wales


Caring is part and parcel of life, but without the right support, the personal costs of caring can be high. Caring can take its toll on finances, health, career and family life. Carers may have to give up work to care, relying on low-level benefits and forcing them into poverty. People providing high levels of care are also twice as likely to be permanently sick or disabled.

Carers contribute so much to family and community by looking after the person they love. And yet, in return, many face isolation and worry, and get little or no recognition or support for what they do. It is estimated that carers provide 96% of all community care in Wales, with 90,000 of them providing more than 50 hours of care each week. But the main carers' benefit is worth £55.55 for a minimum of 35 hours of care – equating to just £1.58 per hour. So without carers, Wales could potentially face a substantial £7.7 billion care bill. How we're helping carers At Marie Curie, we recognise the importance of supporting carers who are looking after a relative or friend who is terminally ill. We know that, with appropriate support, caring can be life-affirming, deeply satisfying and can provide a real opportunity – both for the carer and their loved one – to say goodbye. When carers are enabled in this way, it would be more likely that the people they are caring for will be able to remain in their preferred place of care. Those who are caring need clear, easily accessible information about the support and benefits available to them. Marie Curie’s Caring for Carers project in Wales is offering a series of free sessions for carers to meet others in a similar situation, and to help them develop skills and confidence in their caring role. Each session covers a range of topics relating to managing symptoms, practical care and emotional support. Every day in Wales, around 345 people take on a new caring role, adding to the estimated 370,000 carers already identified in Wales. To help us reach these carers, we're working in partnership with local health boards, local authorities, voluntary organisations and other carer support services in Wales. If you are interested to know more about the Caring for Carers project or would like to attend an information session near you, please contact me at susan.court@mariecurie.org.uk or follow me on Twitter for the latest updates. As part of Carers’ Week this week, Susan and the team at the Marie Curie Hospice, Cardiff and the Vale are organising a free event today (9 June) from 1pm to 4pm at the hospice. The event gives those caring for a loved one with a terminal illness the opportunity to meet other carers and learn about the support Marie Curie can provide for carers. If you’re a carer or know someone who is, share your experience or views with us @mariecurieuk using #carersweek.