Carers dedicate years to loved ones

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A young carer tucks in her loved one ©Produnis/Wikimedia Commons

A young carer tucks in her loved one ©Produnis/Wikimedia Commons

Young carers in Merseyside are among the longest-serving, unpaid carers in the country, according to new statistics.

Figures gathered by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show that of the 10 NHS groups with the highest female unpaid care expectancies, four were located in Merseyside.

The second highest in the country was St Helens, where females aged 15 were predicted to be dedicating an average of 10.9 years of their lives caring for their loved ones based on current prevalence and mortality rates.

NHS Wirral, South Sefton and Southport and Formby were among the other commissioning groups with the highest average ages of unpaid care expectancies. Males aged 15 in St Helens topped the same list, with an average of 8.4 years as unpaid carers.

The figures also highlighted the effect of a growing elderly population, which can leave young carers facing a heavier burden of care than any other generation.

Steve McIntosh, policy manager at Carers UK, said: “For us it illustrates that, whilst care is a natural part of life, because we have an ageing population, because life expectancy is going up and healthy life expectancy hasn’t kept pace, in old age people are needing much more care.
He added: “Whilst there are already huge pressures on people in their 50s and 60s, that is only going to grow for girls and teenagers.”

Responsibilities for young adult carers can include household tasks such as cooking and financial management as well as personal care and emotional support. Young carers can often see their school work and time with friends affected because of the time that they have to spend caring for their loved one.

McIntosh also said that an ever increasing need for people to care for their loved ones is made worse by cuts to local authority budgets and said that a “step change” is needed.

NHS Knowsley, Halton, Liverpool and St Helens were also the top four areas in the country for the highest instances of unpaid care of 50 hours or more per week with a high prevalence of pronounced disability.

About Sophie Lockett, JMU Journalism