Warning that carers are at breaking point

 Warning that carers are at breaking point

The Older People’s Commissioner for Wales has said that some carers are at breaking point because of the stress of having to look after their loved ones with very little assistance from outside organisations. Sarah Rochira told the BBC that this vital work is often overlooked, even though it can have a major impact on people’s physical and mental health.

She said that carers provide as much as £6 billion a year in savings to healthcare authorities, but many feel as though they do not matter.

Ms Rochira called upon the government to provide more advice, support and practical assistance to the nation’s carers.

“These are all things that would not cost a lot of money to implement, but would make a significant difference to carers’ lives,” she commented.

Although the warning comes from speaking to Welsh carers, it is likely that the psychological effects also apply to those looking after relatives across Britain, something the government may need to take action on sooner rather than later.

Reinhard Guss, the dementia work stream lead for our Faculty of the Psychology of Older People, said:

“The Dementia Action Alliance recently launched its Carers Call to Action, which includes a summary of carers’ needs that would be applicable across the nations.

“The excessive levels of stress and burden experienced by carers of people with a dementia are well documented and have led to a range of treatments offered by clinical psychologists:

“Clinical psychologists in specialist memory services offer a range of evidence-based psychological therapies tailored to the needs of carers.

“Members of the Faculty of the Psychology of Older People and the BPS/FPOP Dementia Workstream are developing innovative approaches to supporting carers, for example Dr Georgina Charlesworth in a  joint project with the Alzheimer’s Society, developing computer-based cognitive behavioural therapy for carers of people with a dementia.”