FAMILY CARERS ‘UNDER’ SIGNIFICANT PRESSURE’
FAMILY CARERS IN RURAL IRELAND DEALING WITH ADDED PRESSURES
Family Carers in North Leitrim are under significant pressure in their role, a new report has found.
A report carried out by 24/7 Family Carers found that there is no Extreme Weather Transport Plan to enable professional carers to travel in snow and freezing weather conditions.
The result of this situation is that many Family Carers in North Leitrim as in many rural areas in Ireland have no help from professional carers on these days’ despite having a HSE home care package.
Many found this out this year as the Beast from the east covered the country with ice and snow.
1,435 people in Leitrim identified themselves as Family Carers in the 2016 Census. Many others do not call themselves carers – they just do their best looking after their loved ones; many without any support from the state.
Family carers interviewed for this report also highlighted issues that impacted on their quality of life such as: lack of public transport; having to travel long distance to access medical services; severely limited respite opportunities; fractured services and lack of overarching support.
Others pointed out the lack of limited mental health support, social isolation and poor ICT and phone infrastructure.
Speaking at the launch last week, a member of the 24/7 Family Carers steering committee Annie McGuinness said: “The free travel pass as it stands is of little benefit to Family Carers living in North Leitrim.
“The Department of Transport have made a commitment to addressing the transport problem in rural Ireland but there appears to be no urgency in addressing the replacement of the Mobility Allowance Scheme”.
The research also describes Family Carers frustration at inadequate phone coverage and broadband causing extra difficulties with communication and leading to greater levels of isolation.
Ms McGuinness concluded by saying: “The very limited opportunities for respite for older people and none for some carers such as those caring for children or those with mental health issues in North Leitrim is putting extreme pressure on people. The research found that the chances of respite can possibly increase if a carer reaches breaking point”.
The report points out the inconsistencies in services in North Leitrim for people being cared for in the home where services can vary from one part of county to another.
Being a Family Carer anywhere in Ireland is stressful, however the research finds that being a Family Carer in a rural area brings additional pressures and challenges.
Marian Harkin (MEP) who wrote the forward and launched the report by the Family Carers Steering Group, pictured along with the report’s author Dr. Deirdre Byrne.