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10 March 2015, 15:46
Carers' rights are to be enshrined in law to increase the support they are entitled to, the Scottish Government has announced.
Local advice and information centres are also to be set up in every local authority area under the bill and there will be more opportunities for carers to take short breaks.
It was published today by the Scottish Government as health improvement minister Jamie Hepburn visited young carers at the South East Carers Centre in Glasgow to discuss their situation.
Taryn Ferry said she has been looking after her parents for seven years, since she was 12.
"My mum's been pretty ill, but it wasn't until my big sister passed away that it got really bad,'' the 19-year-old said.
"She suffers from depression, she had throat cancer, osteoporosis, epilepsy, and heart failure. She's in the hospital more than she is in the house.
"It's really difficult. She's on oxygen and our house is a good size, but not really for her wheelchair.
"With dinners and finance, it's me who deals with everything. I'm also her power of attorney, so I deal with everything from going to see bank managers to doctors.
"My dad became ill too. He grew up in Ireland and doesn't know how to read or write properly. So, when he became ill, everything was pushed onto me.''
The family are now preparing for their first holiday in years through carers support.
Ms Ferry said: "We're going away just to a farm in England. It's nothing special, but to us it's everything. It doesn't need to be exotic, it doesn't need to be a beach.
"It could be anywhere in the middle of nowhere, raining, as long as it's us three, and it's just a breath away from everything. If it wasn't for the support we wouldn't be able to get away.''
Mr Hepburn also met with adult carers to discuss the new bill.
He said: "Society owes those who provide a caring role a massive debt of gratitude.
"We will probably never be able to do enough to truly reflect the contribution they make, but I believe that the Carers Bill is an important step towards recognising the huge contribution that carers make to their family, friends, communities and the wider economy.
"I hope that the measures in this Bill will go some way towards allowing carers to balance their caring responsibilities with other things they want to achieve in their lives, helping them to be happier and healthier.
"We've made great progress in recent years. The Scottish Government has invested £13.7 million for short breaks for carers and their loved ones, and we've put £28.9 million into health boards to provide for direct support for carers.
"The Carers Bill will allow us to accelerate the progress that has been made and to ensure that the standard of support is provided consistently across the country.''