Who Cares? Carers

Who Cares? event

Comments from Lisburn Discussion Event:

  • A lot of people do not have any family support – there is a greater lack of societal support for people at home. Need to re-install a sense of community to provide support over and above social care
  • Carers are often older people themselves and with their additional caring responsibilities their own mental health can come under strain. Must have an adequate policy for carers including respite and day care, but the care must be appropriate for both the client and the carer.
  • Naturally everyone would like people around them that they know and have a relationship with and this is first and foremost family and friends. These carers should be compensated accordingly for the role that they undertake.
  • The real problem is that the younger generation, unless they are paid to do a role like Care Worker they do not have the time to look after and older person to a great degree. They do not have the time due to the pressures they are under in relation to living their everyday lives, in terms of keeping a home, raising children etc. Modern life has taken something away from informal social care so it will have to be professionally provided.
  • Your care should not automatically fall on your family
  • Carers are so important and they must be recognized and treated appropriately. Respite care must be appropriate for both the client and the carer. It should be easy to access and available readily to all who need it. Carers without this sort of good respite care are in big danger of mental health problems.
  • Many carers are older people themselves and for them respite care is essential. If they do not receive adequate support including timely breaks from their caring duties, their mental health can and will suffer. Often respite care that is provided is not appropriate for either the patient or the carer and the carer then spends their break and afterwards being more stressed than before!
  • Carers should receive some sort of payment for caring for family members eg expenses such as petrol costs
  • Society has changed – changes in families, daughters, children etc. Busy lives – not just that, they don’t care - so much going on in their lives and family members are no longer there
  • Carers should be entitled to carers allowance regardless of age
  • ‘Burden’ of caring for family often falls on just one member of the family which isn’t fair;
  • Relatives over 65 in receipt of pension don’t get a carers allowance which is unfair
  • Respite care should be available to all and free as this would help carers plan a break
  • Health and Safety also means that people who want to help a neighbour etc. in a casual way are afraid to do anything in case they are sued
  • Everyone felt very strongly that carers do not get enough recognition
  • There should be carers incentives for employers like with childcare, so that they are more flexible and value employees who are carers. There should also be tax breaks for those who are carers.

Comments from the Omagh Discussion Event

  • Family responsibility: some families do not want to care; some people have no families as they have all left home; the young people are all leaving as there are no jobs, they have no choice, but the knock on effect means that their parents have no-one left at home
  • The problem is that in the world we live in support for people has shrunk. Neighbours are afraid to come into your house
  • There is a part to play for volunteers who can build up relationships with the people they are helping.
  • Family should be offered funding and support when they care for family members.
  • It was emphasised that there was a serious over-reliance on family and informal carers. The issue was then brought up about people who didn’t have these support mechanisms – how are they expected to cope?
  • Carers allowance once you get to pension age is taken out of your benefit – everyone at the table agreed that carers allowance should be paid regardless of your age, as the disability of the person being cared for does not diminish and your caring duties don’t either.
  • Older people who don’t get a carers allowance have paid their National Insurance and taxes and contributed to the Government are then left in financial poverty. There is no fairness in that
  • Being able to claim a carers allowance could be an incentive for some people to become carers
  • There is an assumption that people who need care can rely on their families to take care of them. The government should not be making that assumption and it will be less of a reality in the future with changes to families etc.
  • Need more respite care desperately. Carers must have it to keep their physical and mental health good. Even if I had to pay a little for it, I would get the money from somewhere to pay for it, because so needed. It is very limited at minute, and is bed dependant. Difficult to get and sometimes inappropriate but so important.
  • People rely too much on family. Not good to build your system on this wrong presumption; social care system should not depend on the family as carers nor make the assumption they will always be there.
  • Focus on respite – should be available either outside or inside the home depending on what is most appropriate for the patient and carer. Why can’t a carer come into a home to reduce the disruption and distress?
Age NI Advice Line:
0808 808 7575

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