This week, 8th – 14th June, is National Carers Week – a week when family carers are celebrated and appreciated publicly. When you consider that nearly 40,000 people over 70 are providing full-time care for another person, usually a family member, and there are more than 4,000 carers under the age of 15, according to figures released at the start of National Carers Week, it shows that family carers require help as well as appreciation.
Family carers provide high levels of care to a range of people including frail older people, people with severe disabilities, the terminally ill and children with special needs. Carers provide regular, unpaid personal help for a friend or family member with a long-term illness, health problem or disability (including problems which are due to old age). Personal help includes help with basic tasks such as feeding and dressing. Parents care for children, adult children care for their elderly parents, young children and teenagers help to care for parents.
There are 187,000 family carers in Ireland. Many of them care for family members six days a week and use respite care one day a week. Others will have a professional home carer coming in to provide respite care for perhaps one hour a day. Respite care is so important for many reasons: to give the family carer a break and a rest, to let them enjoy normal life to some extent and to reassure them that they are doing a great job. A family carer can consult with professional carers, ask questions, receive reassurance and provide some company too. It must be remembered that it can be quite isolating for family carers if it is difficult to leave the house.
There will be 150 events across Ireland this week. Examples include the ‘Care Café’ in Carlow, which will be open from June 8th to 12th, from 10 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. each day. It’s designed to encourage family carers to source information there, engage in relaxation therapies, enjoy some crafts such as flower-arranging and also to avail of free counselling if they would like to. There will be plenty of home baking, tea, coffee and chat on offer.
If you are a family carer, or if you know a family carer who could do with a treat, do check out the various events on during this week to find out what is on in your area. Events include afternoon teas, pamper facials at Boots pharmacies, free musical concerts, information meetings, coffee mornings, flower arranging classes, butter making, mindfulness workshops, retreat sessions, walks, massages, energy therapies, pamper mornings, swimming lessons, support meetings, health fairs, lunches and much more.
Do you think it is important that family carers are supported and appreciated?
Photo Source: Irish Independent