THE OLDER People’s Commissioner for Wales met with 55 Torfaen carers at the Irie Shack in Cwmbran last week.

Sarah Rochira visited the Panteg Carers Support Group as part of the celebrations for Carers’ Week.

The majority of the carers were older women, who care for dependants including children with mental health issues, parents or husbands.

Ms Rochira, said: “Events such as these are a wonderful way of providing carers with an opportunity to socialise, make new friends and learn about support available.

“As I travel around Wales as part of my Engagement Roadshow, I meet many wonderful carers whose huge impact and contribution to society is often not recognised. It is estimated that older people contribute over £4 billion to the Welsh economy each year as unpaid carers, providing essential support to loved ones and friends, often to the detriment of their own health and wellbeing.”

The importance of keeping fit and active was a main focus of the event, with carers told that keeping a healthy body as well as a healthy and strong mind will mean they are better prepared to care for loved ones.

Those attending then took part in a line dancing session, organised by the Torfaen Leisure Trust, while representatives of the Stroke Association tested blood pressure. There were also opportunities to discuss a range of issues with Citizens Advice Bureau staff.

The group also presented a cheque for £111 to Macmillan Cancer Support, while there was a birthday cake for Carol Wheeler, who helps to run the Panteg Carers Support Group.

The visit formed part of the commissioner’s engagement roadshow, which met with over 5,500 people at 180 events across Wales in 2013.