Carers living in Derry are being urged to make sure they are properly informed when it comes to what help and support they are entitled to.
Derry man, Brendan Kelly, is a carer for his daughter who has Muscular Dystrophy. For years Brendan was not aware of what he was entitled to but through his local community centre he was able to improve the quality of care he was providing.
“My message to all carers in Derry is to contact your local community centre or speak to an elected representative about what help and support you might be entitled to,” said Brendan.
“I kept myself to myself and just got on with things but I was oblivious to what was available to not only my daughter but to me also. Checking out what I was entitled to was the best decision I ever made because it means that I am much better equipped to care for my daughter.”
Local Sinn Féin Councillor Patricia Logue said if it was not for the dedication and stoicism of carers the cost incurred by National Health Service (NHS) would be much more than it currently is.
“I would like to pay tribute to the fantastic work that carers do in our community, a role which is often unpaid and unacknowledged,” said Colr. Logue.
“Carers are the backbone of the community care system, without whom the cost to the health service would be enormous.However, many of them are missing out on the support available for them.
“Carers need to be given the right information on their entitlements which can greatly transform the experience of looking after someone.
“It can be a minefield trying to navigate the myriad of services and entitlements. Many carers miss out on the financial and practical support, which could benefit them greatly.
“The information necessary to support them must be easily accessible to ensure they do not find themselves facing associated problems such as financial hardship, health problems, emotional stress and relationship breakdown,” added Colr. Logue.