Waterford family carers of people with dementia 'extremely worried' about Covid-19

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Waterford family carers 'concerned and extremely worried' about impact Covid-19

The ASI is calling for family carers of people with dementia to be included as a priority group for vaccination

The Alzheimer Society of Ireland (ASI) has called on the Government to designate family carers of people with dementia as a priority group for Covid-19 vaccination.

The ASI is actively highlighting and lobbying Government about the importance of family carers of people with dementia being included as a priority group in the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccination programme.

There is a real urgency and importance to the inclusion of all family carers, especially sole carer givers, as a priority group in the plans to roll out the Covid-19 vaccine. The ASI is concerned by the lack of any mention of family carers as a specific group and the vaccination schedule given their very real vulnerabilities in relation to Covid-19.

Currently, family carers are not only shielding their loved ones from Covid-19, but are living with a real fear of what would happen if they themselves get sick and are unable to care, according to the ASI. 

Carers of people with dementia have been one of the worst hit groups during Covid-19 pandemic.  In The ASI research report last July, Caring and Coping with Dementia During Covid-19 highlighted the crisis aftermath of life in lockdown that has taken an enormous toll on people’s lives. This has resulted in extra workloads, constant anxiety and exhaustion, with 77% of family carers agreeing that their caring workload has increased since Covid-19 in the report.

Throughout Covid-19, the ASI has been highlighting that many family carers have felt forgotten during the pandemic. They have been left without vital face-to-face services since March 2020 and many families are receiving no support or respite from their 24/7 role.

Not having access to vaccinations as a priority group is causing stress. The ASI has called for a timeline and an action plan to be provided to all family carers to ensure that no family carer has to wait any longer than necessary to receive the vaccination.

“We must offer family carers the Covid-19 vaccination as a priority. In so many unspoken and unseen ways they are caring for and ensuring that our most vulnerable are safe and cared for," ASI CEO Pat McLoughlin said. 

"Being a carer is a 24/7 role. They are concerned and extremely worried about the impact that Covid-19 is having and could have on them and their loved one. The impact of a family carer getting Covid-19 would be very severe and we have seen it can really jeopordise the care of the person with dementia.

"We understand that some family carers will fall under the categories outlined for priority due to their age or own health conditions, but many will not. A timeline and action plan should be published to ensure that all family carers are prioritised.”