Selfless unpaid carers need support themselves – Sugden

Independent MLA Claire Sugden has said unpaid carers remain one of the many “unsung heroes” of the coronavirus pandemic and urged the Executive to give them more support.

Monday, 10th May 2021, 10:17 am

In November, a report by Carers UK said the care provided by unpaid carers throughout the pandemic had saved Northern Ireland £4.8 billion – or £19m a day. If this trend continued, that would equate to more than £7.8bn saved.

“These carers are predominantly friends and family who provide care out of love and a feeling of duty,” Ms Sugden said.

“The money this saves Northern Ireland is staggering – it is hard to see how this kind of care could be provided by the Executive if they didn’t do it, given the huge amount that would be needed.

Claire Sugden

“But while they selflessly give their time and effort to help their loved-ones, these carers do so at a cost to themselves – both through the time and resources they put into their care, but also through the mental and physical toll the role can take on people.”

According to the charity, 85 per cent of carers in Northern Ireland said they had taken on more caring during the pandemic, while 73 per cent said they were “exhausted and worn out” as a result.

“This level of caring clearly has a detrimental impact on those providing it,” Ms Sugden continued. “While many do not seek financial reward to care for their loved ones, it is clear they need support, respite and some level of compensation in order that they themselves are looked after.

“The Executive cannot continue to simply thank them for their sacrifice. They must ensure unpaid carers are given the resources to care for themselves and live their lives while providing this care.”