Mr Simmonds was speaking after the release of a survey in which 100 per cent of carers agreed that, proper breaks away are vital in enabling carers to sustain a good relationship with those they care for.
The research, released to coincide with Carers Rights Day on 20 November, also found nine out of ten carers said they thought it was likely or very likely that regular respite breaks prevented the caring relationship from breaking down.
“Guilt at letting go is clearly a huge psychological barrier for carers, but we have found that carers’ fears can be eased if the focus is on providing high quality care for their loved ones, combined with a dignified, stimulating environment and the chance to enjoy the company of others,” added Mr Simmonds.
The UK’s army of unpaid carers, currently numbering around 6.5 million, is increasing at a rate of 6,000 people each day. By 2037 the number of unpaid carers in the UK is expected to have soared to nine million.
According to newly released figures from Carers UK, unpaid carers save the economy an estimated £132 billion per year, an average of £20,308 per carer.