Sunday 25 August 2019

Respite: Home carers call for State help as national crisis grows

Cry for help: Breda Daly is 70 and has looked after her sister Mary for 30 years. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Cry for help: Breda Daly is 70 and has looked after her sister Mary for 30 years. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Laura Lynott

Laura Lynott

Hundreds of carers met to discuss lobbying Government to spend an extra €3.2m a year to help families with loved ones in need gain a better quality of life.

Family Carers Ireland (FCI) gathered members in Dublin to call for a Carers' Guarantee - a campaign to secure core funding support for carers.

The group said the priorities were to provide carers with emergency respite, individual support, training, networking opportunities and more information and advocacy.

Catherine Cox, from FCI, said: "The Carers' Guarantee is a major issue for us going forward to improve the lives of carers.

"There is a sense of frustration and some anger, carers certainly do feel left behind. A big issue is respite. And particularly in an emergency, when they most need it. Where you live determines what you will or won't get. That's a postcode lottery

"I would say if you're a carer you may get access to respite but maybe in other parts of the country you won't.

"And the loco parentis is a major issue too, where the carer has to stay in the house while a HSE carer visits, so that's not offering the carer respite.

"Carers are also worried about what happens in the future for those with disabilities. We need future career planning."

The group also want to see the reversal of the axing of the mobility allowance and grants imposed by Government in 2013. Up to 5,000 people who used the scheme to travel to work, retain employment and get to essential medical appointments were affected by the cuts.

Breda Daly (70), from Walkinstown, Dublin, told how she has been caring for her sister Mary (61), who has brain damage, for more than 30 years after the death of their mother, also Mary.

"Mary is in the early stages of dementia," Ms Daly said.

"I go in and she can't remember what she called me for. I'm 70 and find I'm getting very tired. The respite has been cut on me. Mary used to go in every week and now it's once a month.

"We have to fight for our rights as carers. If anything happens to me, Mary won't want to go on.

"I have to do all the washing and caring and I love my sister to bits but I have my own health issues.

"If I got a bit more respite, I think things would be a lot better."

Irish Independent

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