Unpaid carers in Wales 'exhausted and worn out' during pandemic and worried about coping over winter

The charity says many are worried about the winter months and further lockdowns. Credit: PA Images

Unpaid carers are 'exhausted and worn out' and worried about how they will cope during the winter and in the further restrictions or lockdowns, a charity said.

A report by Carers Wales found that 76 per cent of unpaid carers said they are 'exhuasted and worn out' as a result of the pandemic and providing extra care.

It also found that 68 per cent are worried about how they will cope if further lockdowns or local restrictions are introduced.

On Monday, First Minister Mark Drakeford announced Wales will enter a 17 day fire break lockdown from Friday 23 October at 6pm.

Unpaid carers revealed in a survey that they felt 'exhausted and worn out'. Credit: PA Images

Carers Wales says family carers are going without crucial services, whilst providing many hours of additional care for loved ones with increasing needs.

It says this is a 'critical point' in the Covid-19 pandemic when more restrictions are being put in place, and 'many expect life to become more difficult over the winter months'.

Claire Morgan, Director of Carer Wales said: “The pandemic has placed enormous pressure on carers in Wales, who are caring round the clock for loved ones with little or no outside support. They are worn out.

"Carers are desperately worried about how they will manage over the winter and in the face of further lockdowns and tightening of restrictions.

"The Welsh Government must ensure that services for carers and those they care for are reinstated as soon as possible.  Local authorities must be flexible and consider alternative ways of meeting carers needs. It must also reinstate as a matter of urgency its commitment to an awareness raising publicity campaign to identify and inform carers of their rights.”

The report found that many unpaid carers were providing more care for people during the pandemic. Credit: PA Images

The Welsh Government announced a new fund of over £1 million on Tuesday to help Wales' unpaid carers cope with the financial pressures of the coronavirus pandemic.

It says the Carers Support Fund wil be open to carers across Wales and will see grants of up to £300 made available for a range of essentials, including; food, household items such as furniture or white goods, or electronics such as a laptop for access to support and services.

The Welsh Government also announced that it will launch a consultation on a new national plan for carers, setting out how it proposes to work with 'a range of partners to strengthen its priorities to better reflect every aspect' of a carers’ life.

Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services, Julie Morgan, said:“We are immensely grateful to Wales’ huge army of dedicated unpaid carers who have done so much to look after others during the pandemic.

“We have seen unpaid carers working longer hours and the pandemic has made it more difficult for carers to cope with their caring role and live the life they choose.

"Some are struggling to cope with the extra costs caused by Covid-19 and the aim of the Carers Support Fund is to help alleviate some of this additional, unnecessary pressure.

“I look forward to talking to carers and their representatives as part of our consultation on a new national plan. I urge anyone connected to caring to submit their thoughts.”