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Family carers in Ireland are turning to the internet for support and social connections, due to lack of availability of home care

Monday 10 June 2019

Research, published on 10 June, indicates that many family carers in Ireland depend heavily on the internet for information, support and social connections, as they are unable to leave their homes. Care Alliance Ireland, in partnership with the eleven other National Carers Week partner groups, recently undertook a survey of 300 family carers across Ireland. The resulting report, published as part of Carers Week 2019 (10-14 June), aims to highlight how family carers are using the internet to connect with others, to get supports and information from not-for-profit and statutory agencies, and to manage their day-to-day lives, but also to emphasise that internet supports are not a suitable substitute for one-to-one supports, such as home care:

  • 59% of respondents said they felt lonely or isolated.
  • Only 3% of respondents said they could “always” make it to social and support events that they would like to get to - with almost a quarter (23%) saying they can “never” get to those kinds of events.
  • Over 50% of respondents are members of online support groups and 76% have looked up information regarding the health of their loved one online.

Speaking about the research, Zoe Hughes, Policy & Research Officer with Care Alliance Ireland said: “It’s clear that the lack of on-the-ground supports like respite and home care is having a huge impact on family carers being able to take a break and seek supports - meaning that online supports are increasingly become vital for many of those who are isolated and lonely in their role.” Care Alliance Ireland is an alliance of NGOs that support family carers in Ireland.

Read the full report here: