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Hidden care

19 December 2014

IT WAS Carers' Rights Day on 28 November, although the Bishop of Swansea & Brecon, the Rt Revd John Davies (above, with the Little Gems playgroup, Brecon) must have been one of the few people who noticed. He took the opportunity to appeal for support for the army of "hidden carers" in Wales, who drop off the radar of society as they look after their loved ones.

It was easy for them to be overlooked or forgotten, he said, and to drift into isolation as they devoted their time to caring for family or friends with long-term disability or illness. There were 370,000 such carers in Wales, he pointed out, and it was estimated that they saved the Welsh economy no less than £7.72 billion.

"They do it out of love and compassion," he said, "but there is no doubt that it can leave them emotionally and physically drained, and can leave them with little time for themselves. Suddenly, their faces are no longer seen at church services, their usual social events, or meetings, because they are tied to the house and can't get out. . .

"All too easily, they can become cut off from society, and drift into isolation and loneliness. These are people we need to watch out for, and reach out to, offering them practical help, encouraging them to seek support, or simply keeping them in the loop. We all need to care for the carers around us."

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