This week has been Carers Week
This week, as we all know, has been Carers Week, an opportunity for us to recognise and say thank you to the 370,000 carers across Wales who, day in day out, often with little support, keep safe, care about and provide basic but essential help to so many.
Also a chance to say thank you to our organisations in Wales who provide support to carers.
Many of our carers are themselves older people and we know from research that caring has a massive impact on their mental and physical health. Yet despite this being widely known, so many carers just don’t get the help they deserve.
Carers save us £7.7bn a year, yet when you reach the age of 60, if you are a carer, your carer’s allowance stops.
Where is the sense in this?
Having been on the radio earlier this week talking about inconsistencies in access to care across Wales, I was really struck by the powerful Week In Week Out story about Helen Jones caring for her mother. We all have moments in our lives when we need someone to stand by us, stand up for us or to speak for us. To be voiceless is to be powerless. Not everyone is so lucky to have someone like Helen. Access to advocacy, in its various forms, is so important.
Off to North Wales next week to meet more of the people I am here to represent and talk to the directors of social services at their annual conference.