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family carers ireland

Most family carers struggling to make ends meet and suffering from loneliness, survey finds

Almost a quarter of those who responded to the survey said they have missed at least one mortgage or rent payment in the last year.

A SURVEY OF family carers has found that a majority are struggling financially and in terms of their mental health.

The State of Caring 2024 Survey, conducted by Family Carers Ireland, found that 74% of family carers surveyed said the people they support do not receive sufficient formal support and that 72% have never received respite. 

69% said they find it difficult to make ends meet and 29% of those are cutting back on paying for essentials such as food and heating. 

Almost half of the respondents said they have paid for products and services that should be publicly provided and 34% said their accommodation is unsuitable when it comes to meeting the needs of those they in their care, lacking essentials such as ramps and handrails. 

Almost a quarter of those who responded to the survey said they have missed at least one mortgage or rent payment in the last year. 

One carer said:

“We are in constant fear of an eviction notice coming through the door.”

“That alone, has a negative impact on our outlook. Then with the security issues, no maintenance being carried out on the house, inadequate insulation.

“It all has a negative impact on daily life. Our landlord knows we won’t question anything as we have nowhere else to go.”

All of these pressures mean that carers are being forced to make difficult decisions on a regular basis and most carers (76%) reported suffering from severe or moderate loneliness.

“These figures highlight that significant numbers of carers are facing fuel and food poverty, with some reporting having to rely on food banks and charities like St. Vincent de Paul to get by,” Family Carers Ireland said in a statement accompanying the survey results. 

“This survey reveals a harrowing truth – family carers are being pushed to the brink,” said the charity’s head of communications Catherine Cox said.

“Despite promises of reform, they have been abandoned in a broken system. The report paints a bleak reality, echoing the persistent struggles highlighted for many years and emphasising the urgent need for a transformative approach to supporting family carers and providing them with the recognition, resources and respect they deserve.”

She said the charity is calling for “immediate action” to address the situation.

Cox has called for the the abolition of the means test for Carer’s Allowance as well as ensuring payment is not taxed.

She also called for the elimination of the “postcode lottery of supports and services” through the full implementation of the Carers’ Guarantee promised in the Programme for Government.

An increase to the Housing Adaptation Grant and the ensuring of fair rent practices are also crucial to easing the challenges faced by carers, she said.

“Additionally, incorporating universal design principles in housing, along with vastly improved access to respite care and the establishment of a statutory home support scheme, are vital steps to ensuring the sustainability of care in the home.”

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