It has been revealed as part of Carers Rights Day (November 26), that the role of unpaid family carers in Northern Ireland is valued at close to £5 billion during the COVID-19 pandemic to date.
This is £19 million of savings to the Northern Ireland Executive every day research from a leading charity, Carers NI, has shown.
Today marks carers rights day and this year’s theme is ’know your rights’.
In the past eight months Carers NI found that 85% of carers here had increased the amount of care they have had to provide with 73% saying they have suffered exhaustion and feel worn out as a result.
Using the opportunity in the day that is and given the research, the charity is now calling on the government to – ’provide additional support for carers over winter and ensure an action plan with carers is co-produced to restore essential services that will support carers to transition back to some sort of normality while COVID-19 remains present’.
The head of Carers NI, Clare-Anne Magee, warns saying: ”Eight months on from the beginning of this pandemic, carers continue to feel they have been abandoned. Worrying about the coming winter period is causing stress and anxiety, many carers have not had a break from caring since the lockdown began and are at breaking point.
“We are urging the safe return of short breaks and services to support carers as quickly and as safely as possible. Carers must be part of the planning for the restoration of support services for those they care for.
“The Government has to acknowledge the enormous contribution made by carers in Northern Ireland during this pandemic – the value of which is a staggering £19 million every single day – and prioritise their health, wellbeing and resilience this winter.”
Carers NI has also voiced concern that cares could break down as a result of the lack of support services currently either reduced or not operating, leaving these carers without respite.