Advertisement For Smiths Of DroghedaAdvertisement For O'Reilly Glass
Tuesday, 11th June 2024

Family Carers State of Caring 2024 Survey: A Call for Urgent Action

Front Page

We’ve been bombarded with numbers, quotas, percentages and other statistics during the local elections but here’s a shocking statistic that needs to be addressed  - 72% of family carers have never received any respite.

Welcome back to the real world where, despite all the promises and the soundbites, life for many of our citizens is still difficult and depressing.

This is just one of the shocking statistics revealed in a survey published today by Family Carers Ireland which reveals the alarming situation for carers in twenty first century Ireland who have to face the crushing impact of systemic neglect, financial strain, and a deepening housing crisis.

Key findings of the survey, which received responses from 2,127 family carers, include:

  • 76%of carers report severe or moderate loneliness.
  • 74%of family carers surveyed said that the people they support do not receive sufficient formal support.
  • 72% have neverreceived respite.
  • 69%find it difficult to make ends meet (with 29% of those struggling financially cutting back on essentials such as food and heat).
  • 49%have paid privately for products or services that should be publicly provided to support their caring role.
  • 34%said their accommodation is not suitable to meet the needs of the person they care for.
  • 23%missed at least one mortgage or rent payment over the past year, with 17% of mortgage holders missing a payment.

 The percentage surveyed who have never accessed respite care has risen from 66% in 2022 to 72% in 2024, highlighting ongoing inadequacies and gaps in the support system. This worrying increase underscores the health system's failure to meet family carers' basic needs and emphasises the urgent need for comprehensive and effective reforms to provide adequate support and respite services. 

The survey uncovers the harsh realities family carers face in securing stable and appropriate housing necessary for effective caring, with almost 1 in 5 (17%) of mortgage holders having missed a mortgage payment in the past year. Over one-third of those in private rental (35%) and those in local authority housing (32%) have missed a payment in the past year, adding a layer of uncertainty and stress. 

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.” 

Moreover, over a third of family carers live in homes that are not suitably adapted, lacking essential accessibility features such as ramps and grab bars. This situation is exacerbated by the inadequacy of the Housing Adaptation Grant, which has not been increased in over a decade, forcing many to rely on family and friends, personal loans, or community help to make necessary modifications. 

The financial burdens extend beyond housing, with many family carers experiencing reduced earning capacities and heightened economic pressures that challenge their ability to provide care. This financial strain is evident as more than a third report household incomes below €30,000 annually, significantly less than the national median. 

Family carers who are struggling financially often must make difficult decisions and cut back on spending. Among the 69% of carers experiencing financial distress, 29% are cutting back on essentials such as food and heat and 16% have struggled to pay utility bills. 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.

 

Advertisement For Smiths Of Drogheda
Advertisement For O'Reilly Glass