Respite prices soar as full-time carers are hit with burnout on 'very lonely path'

ITV News' Stacey Foster reports on the full-time carers priced out of respite holidays

Carers for people with disabilities have detailed the "lonely path" of looking after loved ones as nearly two thirds say they are suffering from burnout.

Charity Sense has said the pandemic and cost-of-living crisis have made the situation worse for carers of disabled people as they launch a campaign calling for greater investment in respite services to support family carers.

For many, it's a full-time job to spend over 40 hours a week looking after loved ones.

A third said they do not have any support to give them a rest, according to new research from Sense.

Chantel Fry cares for her autistic daughter Madison, 12, and an afternoon in the garden is as much of a holiday as they can manage.

Chantel Fry is a full-time carer for her autistic daughter Madison. Credit: ITV News

"I love Madison but it does make you feel resentful - yes, I wanted to have children but I never signed up to a life with a child who is constantly going to berate me, who I have to run everything past," Chantel told ITV News.

"It's like having a third person in my relationship."

Respite centre Revitalise, based in Southport, allows people with disabilities to come for holidays and gives carers time off.

But they are at full capacity and are having to turn people away.

Jo Duckworth, a mother of four, has two sons with rare genetic life threatening disorders and said Revitalise has been "life-changing".

She says she notices the difference in her son William's behaviour when he returns from Revitalise - the nurses manage his pain so well he comes back "a completely different person".

Jo Duckworth described the work as a full-time carer as a 'very lonely path'. Credit: ITV News

"It's like getting my son back," Jo said.

But Jo also revealed the harder parts of leaving her sons at the centre - and the reality of being a full-time carer.

"For me, it's heartbreaking... I think I'm quite a strong woman, but it leaves you feeling broken and powerless.

"And it is a very, very lonely path that we walk."

The centre is owned by a charity and a holiday at this time of year is between £2,000-£3,000 plus care.

"We do subsidise pretty much every holiday but local authority funding has been cut by 42% for respite, so it's really tough to make these really important breaks happen," staff member Deborah Auty told ITV News.

The UK's social care system relies on the work of unpaid carers, but as the cost of respite soars it leaves many feeling like a day off is unobtainable.

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