The Report launch – Who Cares? Barriers to having a Good Quality of Life for Family Carers in North Leitrim – was well attended last Friday at the Leitrim Sculpture Centre, Manorhamilton.
The Report, by Dr Deirdre Byrne and carried out in partnership with 24/7 Family Carers Group, will serve as a useful tool for carers and their families in North Leitrim and beyond. Addressing the audience, Marian Harkin MEP, highlighted the important local and national recommendations and acknowledged the start of the “revolution” under way with the group.
The overarching recommendations are:
- All Family Carers should be respected and acknowledged for the crucial, difficult and challenging work they provide 24/7;
- Respite services need to be increased and be more flexible to reflect the needs of Family Carers;
- Develop an emergency plan for extreme weather in North Leitrim;
- Employ a Carers Development Officer for Sligo/Leitrim/West Cavan.
Calls are also made for practical changes to the House Adaptation Grant and transport payments as well as having a Minister for Carers. The poor state of Broadband and Telecoms coverage in North Leitrim was highlighted as a significant barrier to social interaction as well as emergency communications.
To download and read this important document CLICK HERE or on image below.
If you are caring for someone in your family and would like to learn more about the group, they can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, get in touch here and we’ll put you in touch with them by phone.
The launch was accompanied by an exhibition of work – ‘OUR LIVES IN PRINT’ – a collection of prints by 24/7 Family Carers Support Group members. You can view the works at the Leitrim Sculpture Centre Christmas Exhibition, and some of them will be available to buy, with all proceeds going back to the group for their ongoing work.
24/7 Family Carers is an independent group based in Manorhamilton, North Leitrim. The group provides a safe space for its members to talk about their shared experience, allows them to take part in creative activities as well as outings and social events.24/7 is a Leitrim PPN member group.
One of the significant findings of the research undertaken by the 24/7 Family Carers group found that there is no Extreme Weather Transport Plan to enable professional carers to travel in snow and freezing weather conditions. The result of this situation is that many Family Carers in North Leitrim as in many rural areas in Ireland have no help from professional carers on these days despite having a HSE home care package. Many found this out this year as the Beast from the East covered the country with ice and snow.
Carers in Leitrim
1,435 people in Leitrim identified themselves as Family Carers in the 2016 Census. Many others do not identify themselves as such – they just do their best looking after their loved ones; many without any support from the state.
Quality of Life for Carers
Family Carers interviewed for this report also highlighted issues that impacted on their quality of life such as: lack of public transport; having to travel long distance to access medical services; severely limited respite opportunities; fractured services and lack of overarching support. Others pointed out the lack of limited mental health support, social isolation and poor ICT and phone infrastructure.
The report describes frustration at inadequate phone coverage and broadband causing extra difficulties with communication and leading to greater levels of isolation. It highlights the inconsistencies in services in North Leitrim for people being cared for in the home where services can vary from one part of county to another.
The research was funded by LEADER through Leitrim Development Company. The work associated with Our Lives in Print was funded by Creative Ireland – Leitrim.