A new report released by Mencap today, a review 10 years on from their 2006 report highlights how a decade on many families caring for a loved one with a learning disability still feel pushed to breaking point.
‘Breaking point’ is a term we use to explain the moment of crisis for a carer, often emotional, psychological and physical, where they feel they can no longer go on. This is frequently caused by the lack of short breaks services, the constant supervision and daily worries finally becoming too much. It is an unimaginable situation to find yourself in, causing turmoil for all members of the family Mencap Short Break Report 2017
This 'breaking point' may be something you recognise yourself, it is certainly something we have often heard in our community. Mencap surveyed 264 family carers looking at the availability of short breaks and the impact it has had on their family and indeed their mental and emotional wellbeing. Mencap found that:
- 9 / 10 had high levels of stress
- 9 / 10 felt a lack of short breaks affected their social lives leaving family carers feeling lonely and isolated
- 7 / 10 are not receiving services that meet their needs
- 6 / 10 Carers had not had an assessment to identify their needs
- 8 / 10 not getting enough short breaks
- 50% had given up work
- 50% Financially struggle
This makes for sad reading, especially as the statistics in a climate of funding cuts are not dissimilar to the stats identified in their 2003 report, and we know what a life line short breaks can be for members of our community, we know that they aren't a treat but a necessity in managing mental and emotional health, resilience and for family cohesion.
“Short breaks are vital, for both carers and (those being) cared for, to recharge batteries and to uphold a sort of normal bit of life!” Mencap Survey Respondent
“My daughter has to cope with a lot and she is only 8. I really feel for her sometimes, as it is really difficult to give her enough attention while [my son] is around. If he could access an activity one night a week – it would benefit both children.” Mencap Survey Respondent
If you would like to read the report in whole in can be found here.
What about in South Glos?
If you need to find out more about what is available within South Gloucestershire Local Authority just click here and if you have any experiences or feedback on Short Breaks, the lack of or any other aspect that you would like us to feedback anonymously on your behalf, please get in touch with us here. We work with the local authority to improve access to and experiences of services, it is very much a part of our raison d'etre! If you do have time to get away for some support check out our coffee support sessions and other events across South Glos here.
Mencap also have a resource on your rights with regards to short breaks that is very useful or they can be contacted on: 0808 808 1111