The Government is being urged to do more to give family carers a break.
Respite is now said to be almost non-existent due to funding cuts, staff shortages and bed closures.
Family Carers Ireland say the country's 200,000 caregivers urgently need support. Spokesperson Catherine Cox (pictured) said the value of respite could not be underestimated:
"(When respite in available) the carer gets away from the caring role, to go for a walk or do some shopping. It's so important both physically and mentally...and they can hopefully come back refreshed and be able to continue caring," she said.
"We see family carers across the country telling us they have no respite, or limited respite and their respite has been cut.
"Over the last three years, this issue has gone backwards."