Carers in crisis are seeking more support

Calderdale Carers Project is struggling to cope with a fourfold increase in work.

Last year around 30 new carers contacted the service monthly with various problems and in recent months that has become the weekly figure.

“More and more people are in crisis and need support,” said operations manager Louella Ramsden.

Inadequate Government funding is blamed for pushing carers into debt and leaving the elderly isolated.

This week more than 60 experts wrote to Prime Minister David Cameron, warning hundreds of thousands of elderly people are lonely, isolated and at risk because of failing care services. The signatories, who include government advisers and charity directors, said the country was failing to meet the challenge of an ageing population.

The group said people faced losing their homes and savings because of rising social care bills.

The Government will take the views on board as it holds cross-party talks to agree wide-ranging reforms in a White Paper to be published in April.

Carers UK said a survey revealed 45 per cent of carers were cutting back on essentials such as heating or food and 40 per cent were in debt as a result of caring.

It says the current £55.55 weekly Carer’s Allowance fails to protect carers from poverty.

Calderdale Carers Project chief officer Lynn Ward said the service was looking at new areas of possible funding and it was fortunate to receive incredible support from Calderdale Council.

“We are just about coping but we are not able to contact those carers who don’t know about us,” said Miss Ward.

She estimated there were between 18-20,000 carers in Calderdale giving help ranging from a few hours to full time.

“We are in touch with around 1,300-1,400,” said Miss Ward.

“As cuts to services come in more falls on carers. It’s like a pack of cards,” said Miss Ward.

“People depend on home care and respite care is essential to carers.

“And home care charges rise in April so people might reduce paid care.”