Sinn Féin - On Your Side

More Help Needed for Carers

5 February, 2007

Sinn Fein Assembly candidate Martina Anderson has called for a better support system for carers and financial packages to be put in place to support the work they do.

Ms Anderson said

"Carers play a vital role in supporting family members who need help. Many
people who are caring for someone do not necessarily see themselves as
"carers."  Rather they are mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, partners,
husbands, wives or neighbours.  However, being identified as a carer can be
important in helping them get the right support they need to look after the
person they care for.

"With the growing emphasis on home-based care, informal care by family,
friends and neighbours is increasingly being recognised as an important
source of support to people of all ages. It's important for carers to get as
much information, practical help and emotional support as they can.

"Carers provide informal voluntary care crucial to the primary care system.
Their work saves the British and Irish Government millions. Yet carers
continue to be denied sufficient recognition for their contribution or
support. We want to see improved financial and other practical support for
full-time carers which recognises the real value of their work.

"The extra costs of disability and charges for various services make carers
financially worse off. The lack of alternative care provision results in
many carers being forced to give up their work. Carer's own health can
suffer because they are forced to carry on caring without the right back up
from services. This cannot be allowed to continue.

"I would appeal to anyone who is caring for a family member or friend to
seek advice on whether they are entitled to any additional financial
assistance or help from the voluntary sector. There are many advice centres,
community and voluntary groups throughout the north doing great work in this
field and have helped countless numbers of people.

"The last Executive involving locally accountable Ministers identified
family carers as a priority group requiring support.  There is much more
that needs to be done to support all of our carers, particularly in relation
to meeting accommodation and needs for adaptations and also crucially in
providing respite care." ENDS

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