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Family carers to be celebrated during Carers Week

Author: Miriam Donohoe
08 June 2015

The vital contribution of the 187,000 family carers in Ireland make is being recognised and celebrated during National Carers Week (June 8th – 14th), officially launched today.

Family Carers will have the opportunity to take part in more than 150 events in every county ranging from pamper days, informative gatherings, live entertainment and ‘open days’ at local attractions.

A new short video sharing carers stories was also shown at the launch event today.

Speaking at the launch, Liam O Sullivan, Executive Director of Care Alliance, said: “This week we seek to acknowledge Family Carers’ wonderful contribution and ask the public to give a special thought to their neighbours who may be caring for a loved one”.

“Carers are hopeful that an improving economy will not leave them behind. With limited progress made on the implementation of the National Carers Strategy, Carers issues must be a priority into the future. We also ask all health and social care professionals to treat Family Carers as partners in care.”

“This week we should focus on doing something for those that contribute so much to Irish society. Whether you just call in, make a meal, offer help and support or, if they are far away, give them a call to say ‘you are doing something really important’, there is a huge value in simply saying ‘thank you’” says Liam O’Sullivan, Executive Director of Care Alliance Ireland.

Supporting Carers Week again this year is well known TV presenter Nuala Carey who said: “I know how important Family Carers are, particularly in enabling people to continue to live at home. The week is a fantastic celebration of the contribution Family Carers make to our loved ones’ lives, and it’s an opportunity for us all to do something extra special for Family Carers in our community.”

Shirley Thornton, who returned home from the UK a number of years ago as her parents' health began to fail said being a Family Carer was a rewarding job - but it was also challenging.

Most did the job out of love and to protect and give a voice to the loved ones they were caring for, said Shirley. But she and others had become disillusioned at what she believed was the Government's discrimination against and lack of respect for Carers.

Yvonne Rossiter, Director of Services at Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) Ireland which has just become partners in National Carers Week said being a Carer was one of the "most time-consuming and emotional roles" one could have. Her organisation believed in educating Carers not just in the issues around brain injury but also in looking after themselves.

Care Alliance Ireland, which is responsible for coordinating Carers Week, says that every person in Ireland has a chance this week to acknowledge the contribution of our 187,000 Family Carers.

National Carers Week, now in its ninth year, is coordinated by Care Alliance Ireland in partnership with eight other leading Irish charities who support Family Carers: The Alzheimer Society, The Carers Association, Caring for Carers, the Irish Cancer Society, The Disability Federation, MS Ireland, Acquired Brain Injury Ireland and The Irish Hospice Foundation.

Family Carers are usually immediate relatives who provide very high levels of care, at home, for children and adults with severe disabilities, frail older people and people who are terminally ill.

The 2011 Census estimates that there are in the region of 187,000 Family Carers in Ireland. It identifies in excess of 4,000 carers under the age of 15. Census 2011 also details the number of Family Carers in each county.

Events this week include:

  • The  launch of Donegal Children's and Young People's Services Committee’s Vision for Young Carers (including a short film on young carers produced by the Donegal Youth Council)
  • A Mamma Mia Sing-a-long night in Cork,
  • Meditation retreats

A continually updated list of Carers Week events in each county is available at www.carersweek.ie/events.

See more articles in Care

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