A recent report issued by "Dementia - The Carers Voice" has highlighted the plight of many Northern Ireland carers  who look after dementia sufferers.

The report was part of research carried out through the Northern Ireland Clinical Research Network and  highlighted the fact that the proportion of older people living in nursing homes here is 3.5 times higher than in England and Wales. The Health Minister recently announced that around 28 of the current 56 state run residential care home facilities will shut their doors within 5 years with an estimated 750 places being lost as a consequence. These changes may increase carer burden and the purpose of the research was to find out how carers of those with dementia are currently managing.

During the research the youngest person interviewed was a 28 year old caring for a 65 year old while incredibly the oldest was a 92 year old with sole responsibility for an 83 year old wife.

The mean age of those with dementia is 80.6 years and the mean age for carers is 56.6 years

The majority of carers (71%) interviewed felt that their needs were not assessed in the planning design and delivery of services and there was a lack of awareness of services available in the voluntary and community sector. 21% of carers stated that they were aware of the Alzheimers society

Most significanly it was established that 50% of carers were unsatisfied with the support they received while 21% were very unsatisfied

50% of paid carer support is for less than 3 hours per week