One in five carers find role ‘soul destroying’, survey finds  Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Evelyn Ring, Cork Examiner

HUGE gaps in care services for people with dementia are leaving an army of carers at breaking point, with one in five describing their role as “soul destroying”.

Revealing the findings of a survey, the Alzheimer Society of Ireland (ASI) has called on the Government to make dementia an immediate national health priority and prevent a deepening crisis from developing further.

There are 44,000 people with dementia in Ireland, but the number is expected to more than double to 104,000 by 2036.

The findings of the survey include:

* Three out of four carers care for loved ones more than eight hours a day, half spending 16 hours or more.

* One in three rarely or never get a break from caring, with one in 20 feeling completely alone in caring for their loved one.

* One in six people with dementia currently live on their own.

ASI chief executive Maurice O’Connell said people want to support their loved ones to live at home for as long as possible, but that excessive care needs and a lack of support meant many could no longer provide the best possible care.

“Over 20% of those surveyed found caring for their loved one soul destroying. The survey results show that the Government is failing to do enough to support carers and people living with dementia. This problem will not go away. We cannot wait until the current economic crisis is over,” said Mr O’Connell.

RTÉ’s Prime Time Investigates, which reported on the crisis last night, collaborated with the charity to commission a survey of almost 700 carers.

It found one in five carers spent more than two years getting a diagnosis for a loved one with dementia. One in 10 claimed their loved one had never been diagnosed with dementia.

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