[Ireland] (October 6, 2020) – Today, Family Carers Ireland celebrates the first of its kind European Carers Day hosted by Eurocarers to spotlight the invaluable role of family carers and their need for support across Europe.
According to recent EU-funded research, family carers across the EU provide over 80% of all care, with women providing approximately two-thirds of care. Carers often face social, professional, health and financial challenges that prevent them from reaching their full potential.
In Ireland, the number of carers is estimated at 355,000 and their unpaid work saves the state a staggering €10bn a year. Coinciding with European Carers Day, Family Carers Ireland will launch its first ever State of Caring survey. Completed by 1,250 family carers before the outbreak of COVID-19, the findings paint a stark picture of carers’ lives pre-Covid, with many struggling financially, facing indebtedness, declining health and little access to essential supports.
To meet the needs of family carers, we need to take steps towards carer-friendly societies across Europe. To do this, Eurocarers has developed a 10-step strategy to help policy makers and other stakeholders in Europe who can help improve the lives of carers.
The 10 steps towards carer-friendly societies across Europe include:
- Define and acknowledge Carers
- Identify your Carers
- Assess the needs of your Carers
- Support multisectoral partnerships for integrated and community-based care services
- Facilitate Carers’ access to information and advice about care, caring and care-life balance
- Pay attention to Carers’ health and prevent negative health outcomes
- Give Carers a break
- Provide Carers with access to training and recognise their skills
- Prevent Carers’ poverty and allow them to maintain an active professional/educational life
- Adopt the Carers’ perspective in all relevant policies
Family Carers Ireland's vision is an Ireland in which family carers are properly recognised, supported and empowered. Our mission is to highlight the contribution of family carers to Irish society and to improve the lives of family carers throughout the country. We believe that no one should have to care alone.
“Now more than ever, it is so important to recognise the work of family carers not just in Ireland but right across Europe particularly through these difficult times,” said Head of Communications and Carer Engagement with Family Carers Ireland Catherine Cox.
“While some progress has been made, it is not enough or happening fast enough to ensure informal carers are fully supported across healthcare systems and social structures” said Stecy Yghemonos, Executive Director of Eurocarers. “At a time of global epidemic, raising awareness of the needs of informal carers is more important than ever to recognize their central role to the health and long term care systems, speed up consistent progress across countries and regions in Europe and protect carers’ health and well-being.”
Join the online conversation on Twitter and Facebook using the hashtag #CarersDay_EU and #WeAreCarers_EU.
For more information about European Carers Day, please visit, www.carersday.eu.
About Family Carers Ireland
Family Carers Ireland is the national charity supporting the 355,000 family carers across the country who care for people such as children or adults with physical or intellectual disabilities, frail older people, those receiving palliative care and those living with chronic illnesses or addiction. It offers a range of supports and services for family carers at its 21 resources nationwide or via the National Freephone Careline 1800 24 07 24.
Eurocarers brings together carers’ organisations as well as relevant universities & research institutes – a unique combination that enables evidence-based advocacy. Our network works to ensure that care is valued and unpaid care is recognised as central to the sustainability of health and long-term care systems. We believe that carers’ know-how and needs are worth listening to and people should have the right to choose freely whether they want to be a carer, and to what extent they want to be involved in caring. Our aim is therefore to act as a voice for informal carers, irrespective of their age or the particular health need of the person they are caring for by: (1) Documenting and raising awareness about the significant contribution made by carers to health and social care systems and the economy as a whole, and of the need to safeguard this contribution; and (2) Ensuring that EU and national policies take account of carers, i.e. promote their social inclusion, the development of support services, enable them to remain active in paid employment and maintain a social life.