Carer of the Year and Young Carers of the Year Awards 2017

30 family carers from across Ireland honoured for their caring roles

Ireland’s Carer of the Year 2017 and four regional Young Carers of the Year were recently celebrated at a special ceremony in Dublin.

The CarePlus Pharmacy Carer of the Year 2017 is Paula Robinson from County Cavan. Paula (48), a mum of two, provides round-the-clock, full-time care for both her parents. Her mother Mary (87) and has Alzheimer’s disease and her dad Jimmy (92) is living with Bowel Cancer. Paula sleeps in a room with her mother to ensure her safety, hand feeds her every meal and is up numerous times each night with both her parents. Paula was presented with her award by broadcasters Marty Whelan and Mary Kennedy, who are both Patrons of Family Carers Ireland.

Paula has four sisters who all live abroad between America and England. She has been her parent’s primary carer for the past eight years while also raising her two children aged 20 and 14. Her husband works away from home a lot. She was nominated for the award by her sisters and extended family as a ‘thank you’ for all she does. Her family describe her as am amazing woman who always puts others first and has a very positive outlook on life.

“We host these awards to recognise the huge contribution of our family carers and young carers. It is fantastic to be here today and see 30 carers from counties across Ireland represented to celebrate with their families. We really appreciate the support of our new sponsor, CarePlus Pharmacy, and are very proud to announce Paula Robinson as our Carer of the Year 2017” said Catherine Cox, Family Carers Ireland.

One in twenty people in Ireland today is a family carer, collectively providing €10 billion in unpaid care each year. Family Carers Ireland estimate there are 360,000 family carers*. By 2030, demographic changes will require one in five to take on a caring role and an increasing number of carers provide care for more than one person. Family carers prop up an inadequate health system, often at a high personal cost financially, physically and emotionally.

Other family carers honoured include:

Kerry Carer of the Year, Liz Forde. Liz is the mother of seven children, three of which are people with disabilities. Her daughter, Ellie, has Asperger’s syndrome. Gwen has Hypomobility Syndrome and requires round-the-clock care.  Cillian is living with brain damage, is peg fed and has Epilepsy Dystonia and Sleep Apnea. Cillian’s conditions are life limiting which is devastating to all the family, but Liz always makes the most of every day with her family.

Wexford’s Carer of the Year 2017 is Fiona Kelly Campbell. Fiona cares for her three children, Jay, Sam and Daniel. Two of the children were born prematurely and her youngest son is a person with special needs. Her oldest daughter was also born with a chronic illness and all three require frequent visits to hospital. Fiona was very close to her dad who sadly passed away last year and is now also looking after her Mum.

Speaking about their involvement in the Awards, Niamh Lynch, Commercial Director at CarePlus Pharmacy said, “Our pharmacists and their teams meet carers in their communities every single day. We are aware of the enormous sacrifices that carers make, and CarePlus is committed to doing its part to help them as much as we can.  The relationship between pharmacist and carer is vital, which is why we are a proud sponsor of these awards”.

Family Carers Ireland provide Ireland’s only dedicated range of supports for young carers (see Four inspirational young carers were also presented with special awards and announced as Ireland’s CarePlus Pharmacy Young Carers of the Year 2017. They are:

Munster: Jack Cooney (10) from Tipperary helps care for his brother James (16) who is living with Cerebral Palsy, is a wheelchair user and requires round-the-clock care.

Dublin: Adam Hyland (14) from Clondalkin helps his mother care for his dad Pat (66) who has multiple illnesses including Dementia, Diabetes, severe chronic pain and has suffered many heart attacks.

Leinster: Alannah Donnelly (15) from Offaly helps care for her brother Conor (12). He is a person with intellectual disabilities and severe behavioural issues resulting in aggression and harmful behaviours towards others.

Ulster/Connaught: Alexandra Ajoi (15) from Sligo is the primary carer for her mother, Susan (41), who is a wheelchair user with chronic pain and has epilepsy. /