CARERS are getting younger, with some under eight-years-old, county councillors heard as they were updated on the West Wales Carers Development Group (WWCDG).
A regional partnership covering Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire along with Hywel Dda Health Board and the third sector is working on ensuring the social services and well-being act is being developed.
Updating members of Ceredigion County Council’s healthier communities overview and scrutiny committee, Heather West carer development officer, said the partnership work was now in its third phase.
Focusing on respite for carers was key to future work and would build on the investors in carers which had been important in the last 12 months.
She said that a young carers survey across the region had some “interesting outcomes” and would be repeated this year.
“The average age of young carers is coming down lower, we are seeing young carers below the age of eight and that’s reflected across the region,” added Mrs West.
The committee heard this did not necessarily mean a “heavy caring” role but also living in a household with a disability or long-term illness.
Mixing with other young carers was important but the young people also wanted acknowledgement of their role, as well as the understanding that it was what they wanted to do.
Cllr Lyndon Lloyd said that there is a “crisis in care” in Ceredigion with many looking after relatives without asking for support as he called for more to be done to encourage access to direct payments or attendance allowances.
The council’s carers unit was congratulated on achieving gold status in the Investors in Carers Scheme despite only having five staff members.
Cllr Catherine Hughes, carers champion, said the team were the first in west Wales to achieve gold.
“We have thousands of carers in Ceredigion and the work of the department is praise worthy,” she added.
Developments in the last year include training people in carer resilience and well-being as well as aiming for early intervention and continuing carers events throughout the county to highlight the support available.