Tough times for carers

Pictured are Ray, Daniel, Sandra, Ryan and Isabel Dunne.Picture Denis Byrne.
Hidden cuts and a loss of resources are making life even more difficult for the thousands of carer’s across Laois.

Hidden cuts and a loss of resources are making life even more difficult for the thousands of carer’s across Laois.

Sandra Dunne from Mountmellick, cares for her 27-year-old son, Daniel who was born with profound cerebral palsy.

Daniel can’t walk or talk and has other medical conditions including epilipsey and asthma which means that he needs 24 hour care.

Sandra has become frustrated with the recent government cuts for carers.

“A girl called to my door recently to assess my carers allowance. She said she wanted to know that I was caring for the person I was supposed to be caring for and that I was living at that address.

“I’ve never been so insulted in all my life. I was livid, I told her to come and step into my shoes for just one day,” Sandra explains.

Cuts to the household benefit package in the last budget are also negatively affecting carers, like Sandra.

“The extra €20 or €30 makes a difference,” she said.

“There are other hidden charges too, like the prescription charges. We don’t qualify for the family rate as Daniel is over 18, but his medications alone are at least €25 per month.”

Daniel will also be losing out on the mobility grant, when the Government cut it completely next month and the respite care grant,

“We used the mobility grant for attending hospital appointments in Dublin. We will have to find that money from somewhere else now.

“I always thought the respite care grant was too much, but it’s a lot to loose, some people would be depending on it.”

Daniel is also missing out on four hours per week respite care as there is no one suitable to provide it at the minute.

“That hasn’t been cut but the agency they use now just isn’t suitable for Daniel.

“He still gets over night respite but we never know when it is, and Daniel can’t go unless there is a nurse on duty. That’s one of the hardest things.”