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Breakfast Friday, 4 October, 2002, 10:26 GMT 11:26 UK
The plight of carers
graphic of keyboard and mobile phone
Read our e-mail of the week
The stress-levels of people over fifty are rising fast, according to a report this week.

Far from relaxing as their own children grow up, many people now find themselves juggling work and the demands of caring for elderly relatives. Some are also expected to care for grandchildren too.

We had a huge response. Here, Sue Dark, from Gloucestershire tells her story:

I am a triple carer - of a young man with autism, uncontrolled epilepsy and severe learning difficulties and two elderly ladies (my mother and my aunt).

I am paid invalid care allowance of 42.45 for caring for more than 39 hours (I am on occasions up all night as well).

I would love to go on strike and take my fellow carers with me to demonstrate. We save the Government thousands of pounds by our dedication.

I have part time work (all I'm capable of) and no pension. I do not take a holiday or go sick.

You don't have to be a mathematician to know that's good value for money.

The caring organisations' staff are lowly paid, expected to take training on all sorts of disabilities, or even expected to look after disabled people without training, for a low wage. Consequently, people are leaving it in droves.

These workers are not valued, nor mentioned. Care workers are not nurses. There is a grave shortage here too and especially 24/7 workers. Respite and short breaks are talked about but cannot be funded by councils.

I would love to go on strike and take my fellow carers with me to demonstrate. We save the Government thousands of pounds by our dedication.

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    02 Oct 02 | Breakfast
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