Monday 20 February 2017

It's time to give the carers some real respite

Published 15/10/2015 | 00:00

Old lady with young carer
Old lady with young carer

While the Government's acknowledgement of the need to support carers by restoring the Respite Care Grant to €1,700 in the Budget is welcome, I'm very disappointed that it failed to fix the problem with the grant. It must be made a pro-rata payment.

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The problem, in a nutshell, is that the Respite Care Grant is paid to eligible carers caring for someone on one particular day of the year, generally the first Thursday of June. If the person being cared for enters long-term nursing-home care or passes away before this date, their carer receives nothing, even if they've provided care over the previous 12 months, right up to the day before this arbitrary date.

And as anyone who has cared for a loved one up to an admission to nursing-home care necessitated by progressive illness or a medical event or up to their death can attest, this period is one of the toughest times in the carer journey, the time when the Respite Care Grant is most needed.

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