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Friday 3 February 2023 Dublin: 12°C
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# Society
Carers 'heavily stressed' says online survey
Half of carers in survey suffer from illnesses and socialising or holidays are an infrequent, sometimes rare, occurrence.

A SURVEY OF members of the Carers Association of Ireland has found that almost half of respondents suffered a health problem themselves.

The online survey carried out between October 31 and November 2 found that of 121 respondents, 26.7 per cent of them rated their stress levels at 5 (on a scale of 1 to 5, five being highly stressed). Almost half of respondents (45.8 per cent) rated their stress levels at 4, while 22.5 per cent gave themselves a stress rating of 3.

Three-quarters of those surveyed said they were more stressed than they were 12 months ago and almost half were too embarrassed to admit that they suffered stress. Only one in five said they got the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep every night.

On top of that, just over 50 per cent of those surveyed said they suffered from a specified illness – 62.3 per cent were “worried” about their health.

The survey, carried out by HSF Health Plan providers, also found that almost 30 per cent of carers have no support in helping to share the care burden while 40 per cent had a family member, other than the person being cared for, living with them. Only one-fifth had access to a nurse or home help.

The survey reported: “Socialising or holidays are infrequent for carers with 59.5 per cent having no holiday in the past 12 months. Only 19 per cent manage to socialise outside the home once a week or more and 20 per cent said that they never or rarely socialise outside the house.”

Catherine Cox of the Carers’ Association said that the survey reflected the anecdotal evidence her organisation received at their centres:

They are stressed, isolated and many are suffering from exhaustion from the burden of their caring roles. Carers often ignore their own health and wellbeing because their focus is on their loved ones who require care.

The Carers’ Association has a number of drop-in centres which offer support, as well as a number of outreach projects co-ordinated by its national office in Tullamore, Co Offaly. There is a freephone national care line on 1800 24 07 24.

In their pre-Budget 2013 submission, the Association appealed that the Government not reduce the half-rate carers’ allowance but rather recognises it “as a direct support for caring duties”. The group said that family carers provide €4 billion worth of care each year – equivalent to one third of the total annual cost of the HSE, and five times the cost of carers’ allowances to the Department of Social Protection (€878 million).

Read: Carers’ Association slams Government failure to honour commitments>

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