Sinn Féin TD for Cavan-Monaghan, Pauline Tully, has reacted to findings of research conducted by Family Carers Ireland and the Alzheimer Society of Ireland that points to the fact that the rising financial burden on family carers is causing deep distress, and many have reported feeling burnt-out.
The report jointly carried out by Family Carers Ireland and the Alzheimer Society of Ireland, The Cost of Living while Caring, deals with the financial situation of family carers of people with dementia in Ireland.
Teachta Tully said:
“The data in the report paints a stark picture of carers (generally women) who are struggling financially but comes as no huge surprise. As we knew that many family carers were struggling financially even before the cost-of-living crisis, this has exacerbated the problem with electricity, fuel and food prices rising sharply.
“While family carers are reportedly saving the Irish exchequer an estimated €20 billion per year by caring for their loved ones at home and keeping them from having to be cared for in hospital or a care home, they themselves are left struggling financially.
“It is not surprising therefore that ‘77% of respondents felt that their value as a carer was not recognised by society’ and that calls to The Alzheimer Society of Ireland’s National Helpline that were related to financial advice and concerns more than doubled in the first three months of 2023 compared to 2022.
“Caring in Ireland has long been associated with poor health outcomes such as stress, burnout and illness and the report cites research funded by The ASI which highlights that ‘one in three spousal carers had clinically significant symptoms of depression’.
“Many family carers continue to remain at ‘breaking point’ with their mental and physical health suffering, and relationships and other priorities coming under strain.
“An already stressful and complex situation with significant health risks is being exacerbated by financial strain and family carers are struggling daily.
“I would echo the calls by Family Carers Ireland and the Alzheimer Society of Ireland that the upcoming Budget must see ‘Increased investment in psychosocial supports for family carers’.
“It is incumbent on the government to ensure that those who are affected worst by the cost-of-living crisis, such as family carers, are protected from further financial burdens and the distress which follows this.”