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About the project

Are you looking after someone? If you are, you’re not alone. Around 3 in 5 of us will be carers at some point in our lives.

Across Wales hundreds of thousands of people are providing help or support to family members, friends, neighbours or others because of long-term physical or mental ill-health or disability, or issues related to older age.

It's been estimated that 96% of all care provided in our communities is provided by unpaid carers, with the work they do saving our NHS and other statutory services more than £8 billion a year.

Out of the 370,000 unpaid carers identified in the 2011 census, almost 220,000 or 59% were over the age of 50.

Wales not only has the highest proportion of older carers in the UK, but we also have the highest proportion of carers providing more than 50 hours of care a week. Older carers form a crucial foundation of our health and social care system – but without effective support, carers can become overwhelmed by physical, mental, emotional and financial strain.

The Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 enshrined in law a number of rights for unpaid carers. The Act is underpinned by a preventative, person-centred approach to improving well-being, promoting the prevention of problems escalating, and making sure that carers receive the right advice, information and support at the right time.

Despite improvements in the way that carers are supported, challenges remain.

There are many in our communities providing care but do not see themselves as an unpaid carer and are not aware of their rights. There are many who don’t know what support is available or how to access it. There are many who, for any number of reasons, struggle to access the help they know to be available.

The carers project, funded by the Welsh Government Sustainable Social Services Third Sector Grant, will support the early identification of older carers to provide timely and person-centred information and advice, enable older carers to influence policy, service design and delivery and decision making by ensuring their voices are heard, and better meet the needs of older carers, carers of people living with dementia, and carers of people who have now moved to live in a care home.

We have four key outcomes;

Outcome 1 - Support and resources to improve the identification and signposting of carers in primary care settings

Outcome 2 - Ensure more professionals can identify and support carers of people living with dementia

Outcome 3 - Information and insight to support the development and effective implementation of service models that better meet the needs of older carers

Outcome 4 - Supporting residential or nursing home staff to support carers.

We'll achieve the above through engagement with carers and professionals, through surveys, listening events, roundtables and one-to-one information sessions. We'll produce guides, reports, information sheets and other resources to ensure that the rights of unpaid carers are respected and their needs better met.

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