More than 68,000 carers in Ireland suffer from depression, nearly enough people to fill every seat in Croke Park, claims Denis Naughten TD.
He told the Dáil last night: “A large proportion of those carers suffer depression as a result of never getting a break and for carers who are providing care seven days a week, 24 hours a day, access to a respite break is vital.
“As we know, 6,000 older people nationwide are on a waiting list for home help. Some 180 of those older people live in the constituency of Roscommon-Galway.
“This problem is compounded by the fact that seven out of ten full-time carers have no access to respite care to give them that vital break. They cannot get a break if they want to go to a family occasion and they cannot even get a few hours off to attend a family funeral.
“This leaves carers isolated and alone. It leaves them far more prone to getting sick, leading them to be hospitalised themselves, forcing the older person or person with a disability for whom they care into long-term residential care, which has a knock-on impact on the health service and on society as a whole.
“We need to ensure a proper legal right to respite care for carers in this country to ensure they get the opportunity to have that break.
“Whether it is a break of a few hours every week from providing full-time care to an older person or a break for a family occasion, that access needs to be put in place immediately,” concluded Denis Naughten.