Maureen O'Brien of Cahir receiving her award.
Maureen O'Brien from Cahir has been announced as this year’s Netwatch Tipperary Family Carer of the Year.
Maureen cares for her husband who is in his 80s and has limited mobility following a stroke, and also looks after her son who has a stage 4 brain tumour.
Maureen’s daughter Rosie said her mother lost a son in an accident 12 years ago but still manages to be so positive for everyone and puts her own health issues on the backburner to care for everyone else.
She describes Maureen as a kind, beautiful soul who is amazing in every way and always thinking of others.
The annual awards seek to recognise and shine a light on the remarkable contribution of Ireland’s forgotten frontline who go the extra mile every day in caring for loved ones with additional needs.
More than 500,000 people in Ireland provide unpaid care in the home for children or adults with physical or intellectual disabilities, frail older people, those with palliative care needs or those living with chronic illnesses, mental ill-health, or addiction. The 19 million hours of unpaid care provided each week by family carers would cost the state €20bn a year to replace.
The Covid-19 pandemic has been a challenging time for all of society but especially for family carers and those they care for who saw essential services and supports severely impacted.
The blanket withdrawal of supports such as homecare, respite, personal assistance hours and residential care during lockdown forced many to care alone, around the clock. When Ireland shut down, family carers stepped up in support of their loved ones.
South Tipperary Carer Supports Manager Richie Molloy said:
“Now more than ever, family carers deserve to be recognised for their enormous contribution to our society. Their unyielding commitment to care for their loved ones at home, particularly during the Covid-19 crisis, has been nothing short of remarkable and this sacrifice often comes at a cost to their physical, emotional, and financial wellbeing. These awards are about paying tribute to all of Ireland's 500,000 family carers and shining a light on the immense work that they do, day in, day out, often with little or no help from the State. Their essential contribution to our national healthcare system needs to be properly acknowledged and supported.”
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