Support of informal carers more needed than ever

Due to the austerity measures as well as the major reformation that took place in the public health sector in Greece, many public allowances addressed to older people have been cut or even cancelled at all. This has made it even more difficult for families to provide their older relatives with the quality of care they deserve. The lingering everyday stress increases anxiety disorders and depression among family carers, resulting in an increased need for psychological support. Unfortunately the social security funds do not cover such services.

During the INDEPENDENT recruitment period the pilot site team in Trikala had the chance to talk with many family carers about their personal situation and their particular needs. We found that many carers have a high need for psychological support, especially those who are caring for a relative with cognitive impairments. Many people said that it is extremely hard to provide daily care to an older person with depression or cognitive impairment where at the same time you are facing a financial crisis because public allowances are cut down and unemployment rates or increasing. Carers thus respond very positively to the possibility to be able to get timely support from a psychologist thanks to the INDEPENDENT service.

After the first 3 sessions already many of the carers show significant progress and their stress and depression symptoms such as headaches, panic attacks, hopelessness that are very often associated with their caring responsibility reduce significantly. The psychological support helps them to understand the cause of their symptoms and offers them techniques to better cope with their situation as a carer. Last but not least the INDEPENDENT service offers them a sense of belonging which is very important since they often felt very isolated from the local community and cut off from society at large. The presence of an organised team of professionals who can easily be reached gives them back their lost sense of communication, support and understanding.