Figures released by Census 2011 reveal that almost 2,000 carers in Ireland are under the age of 10.
Based on a 16% increase in the overall number of family carers from 161,000 to 187,112, The Carers Association calculates that Ireland’s family carers now contribute €11 million per day, providing 900,000 hours of care daily and saving the state €4 billion each year. Census 2011 also found that 21% of family carers provide over 43 hours of care per week.
“With a dedicated question on young carers included for the first time in Census 11, we now have accurate figures on the number of young carers in Ireland in addition to the overall increase of 16 per cent in the total number of family carers." said Catherine Cox, Communications Manager of The Carers Association. "These figures will help plan the provision of support services and are particularly important for young carers, asIreland has no dedicated services or supports for this group, in stark contrast to service provision in the UK. To begin addressing this, we have recently appointed Ireland’s first dedicated Young Carers Development Officer."
Ireland’s older population is set to increase significantly from just over 500,000 (aged 65 or over) to 775,000 by 2021, a rise of 55%. This, coupled with policies adopted by the HSE to reduce the number and length of time patients are in hospital and move towards a community and home-based care model means that a long-term strategy to support the work of family carers is more urgent than ever.
“Latest Census findings coupled with Ireland’s ageing population and increased pressure on health resources make the publication of a visionary National Carers Strategy all the more imperative” said Ms. Cox.
“This strategy should provide direction for future services and supports for family carers and young carers, vital for the long term continuation of care in the community.”
See www.carersireland.com for more information.