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The Role of Carers in Ireland

A carer is someone who cares for a person who needs regular assistance. This could be because of an illness, disability, or the inability to do some everyday tasks on their own. This blog explores the role of carers in Ireland.

Family Carers

Family members are often unpaid as carers. They can find they are looking after a loved one for long hours, often 24 hours a day.  Apparently, many family carers don’t see themselves as carers initially. As the role moves from providing a helping hand to a part- or full-time caring role, it often takes time for both the carer and the person receiving care to see that the caring role has developed. It can often happen that carers don’t see the significance and importance of their role. Of course, it can also happen that carers feel under-appreciated and that people overlook their role. Family carers often need the support of others, partly so they get a break and a chance to recharge batteries. Partly for the emotional support too.

The Role of Carers

Carers can be of any age, from the very young to the very old. The role of a carer can develop either very gradually or suddenly. The care might be for the short-term or it could last many years. The work that a carer does could involve help with personal care, running errands, housekeeping, meal preparation, or companionship. As our population lives longer, it’s likely most of us will act as carers for loved ones at some stage.

Their Importance

When you consider 8% of Irish adults are unpaid family carers, it emphasises the importance of carers for our society. That’s over 350,000 people. It’s good to see organisations forming to support carers in their role and make them feel valued. At Comfort Keepers, we have 1200 carers nationwide. Some of our caring work involves supporting family carers in a part-time capacity.  More work is being done within communities and within the HSE to offer support to family carers. This is to help them to feel appreciated and ensure that they are looking after their own health. Not just the person they are caring for. It’s to give them some respite. This is possible with the help of professional carers such as those employed in organisations such as Comfort Keepers.

So, do you think we appreciate carers sufficiently here in Ireland?

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