Celebrating Ireland’s Family Carers – Launch of the 2015 Carers of the Year Awards

Nominations see significant rise in ‘sandwich generation’ carers

Launching its Carers of the Year Awards for 2015 in Dublin today, The Carers Association has seen a significant increase in the number of ‘sandwich generation’ carers being nominated over the past four years.

According to a study conducted at Trinity College Dublin, one third of Irish women aged 50 – 69 provide care for both older parents and dependent children simultaneously. Known as the ‘sandwich generation’ this is a sector of carers set to rise with Ireland’s ageing population.

Broadcasters and patrons of The Carers Association, Mary Kennedy and Marty Whelan, will be joined at the launch by Madeleine Morrissey from Kiltealy, Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford. Madeleine is Ireland’s Carer of the Year 2014 and also a ‘sandwich generation’ carer. She provides full time care for her three adult children. Ranging in age from late 30’s to early 40’s, Jay, Pat and Sheila are people with Intellectual Disabilities. They require full-time care and have a number of care needs, including epilepsy and limited speech. Madeleine also cares for her mother-in-law living nearby who is in her nineties.

Also celebrating the launch of today’s awards are teenagers Sam Norris from Finglas and Jamie Mooney from Shankhill – both previous recipients of the Young Carer of the Year Award. With awareness of young family carers increasing, The Carers Association saw a 400 per cent increase in the number of nominations for young carers last year, some as young as ten years of age.

Jamie, Ireland’s Young Carer of the Year 2014, has provided care for his mother, Sabrina Mooney, since he was a small child. Sabrina had Meningitis at 19 and suffered a stroke. She was diagnosed with Epilepsy shortly after Jamie was born. In July 2014, Jamie was himself diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and undertook intense Chemotherapy.  

Sam, ‘Young Ambassador’ of The Carers Association and Young Carer of the Year 2012, helps his single mum of five, Antoinette, care for his brother and sister who are people with special needs. Sister Demi has Cohen’s Syndrome* and Brother Adam has Autism.

Sam gets up every morning at 7am to help his mother care for Adam and Demi. Mum Antoinette says he never complains and that she couldn’t do it without him.

The Carers Association’s Carers of the Year Awards and Young Carer of the Year Award 2015, sponsored by Tunstall Emergency Response, are being launched to celebrate the dedication and commitment of Ireland’s 187,000 family carers and 6,500 young carers.

“Family carers provide high levels of care in the home to their loved ones, including older people, those terminally ill and with disabilities. This care is provided with love and we want to recognise and celebrate family carers and young carers across Ireland with these awards” said Catherine Cox, The Carers Association.

“So many people are committed to providing the best care for their loves ones, often over many years. We are calling on the public to nominate these dedicated carers for the Carers of the Year Awards. There are so many worthy recipients but they cannot be considered unless they are nominated so I urge people to get a nomination form and nominate today.” 

Nominations forms are available from The Carers Association Resource Centres nationwide or call the Freephone Careline on 1800 24 07 24. Nominations can also be made online at www.carersireland.com. Closing date for entries is Friday, September 11th 2015 and the ninth Carers of the Year Awards will be presented later this year.