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The Invaluable Contribution Of Informal Carers To Meet Needs
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The Invaluable Contribution Of Informal Carers To Meet Needs


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  • 1. The invaluable contribution of informal carers to meet needs We know that the majority of caring for disabled and older people is undertaken by informal family carers and that caring can affect carers’ health and wellbeing. Almost all carers at some time need some help and support to enable them to continue to care. At a national level we know that:- • Women are more likely to be carers than men • A large and growing proportion of carers are over 60 years of age • Three-fifths of carers are looking after someone with a disability • 855,000 carers provide care for more than 50 hours per week • Three-fifths of all carers receive no regular visitor support services at all • Two thirds of working-age carers are in paid employment • Carers tend to suffer from physical injuries such as a strained back and stress-related illnesses and are twice as likely as non-carers to have a mental health need • Carers’ needs are currently only being met patchily and we can expect increasing demand for care, caused by the growth in the numbers of old and frail people living in the community • Research estimates suggest that there are between 20,000 and 50,000 young carers nationally. Some young carers or their parents may fear that, if they draw attention to their situation, they will be taken into care. Children in families where a parent suffers from mental illness can be at risk of developing mental health problems. In families where alcohol or drug abuse is a problem, children can be faced with a caring role which can create great anxiety. It is estimated that 60% of the population will care for someone at some point during their lives. In Barnet almost 10% of the population are carers, of which at least 2000 are 75 years or older, with nearly 5000 providing 50 hours or more of care per week. The 2001 census indicates significantly higher numbers of carers providing over 50 hours a week care in the more deprived wards of the borough. Age bands Total population Not providing care Providing care % of people providing care 0-4 20,198 - - - 5-7 12,443 12,400 43 0.7%8-9 8,046 8,046 46 10-11 7,779 7,64 105 12-14 11,472 11,210 262 2.3% 15 3,668 3,565 103 2.8% 16-17 7,652 7,303 349 4.6% 18-19 6,508 6,174 334 5.1% 20-24 21,423 20,440 993 4.6% 25-34 53,436 50,139 3,297 6.2% 35-44 47,997 42,643 5,354 11.2% 45-49 19,156 16,029 3,127 16.3% 50-54 19,593 15,792 3,801 19.4% 55-59 15,161 12,200 2,961 19.5% 60-64 12,688 10,573 2,115 16.5% 65-74 22,507 19,339 3,168 14.1% 75-84 14,865 13,222 1,643 11.5% 85-89 3,907 3,649 258 6.6% 90 & over 1,695 1,631 64 3.8% TOTAL 310,251 282,228 28,023 9.0%
  • 2. Barnet council contributes significant funds to the local Carers Centre which has over 4000 carers from across the borough registered with them. However a Barnet is an increasingly ethnically diverse borough, black and minority ethnic carers are among the ‘hidden’ carers and this brings the requirement to ensure that carers support is culturally sensitive and competent in order to ‘reach out’ across all sections of the community. For the increasing number of people living longer in their own homes, with shorter and shorter hospital admission time, we can expect for there to be a greater impact on families and informal carers, especially in the context of knowing that many carers are older people themselves.