Launch of the 2014 Carer of the Year Awards highlights rise in numbers of OAP carers

39.5% increase in carers aged over 75 and 33.6% increase in carers aged between 60 and 74

The Carers Association launched its 2014 Carer of the Year Award and Young Carer of the Year award at a special event at the Westin Hotel in Dublin city centre today with long-time patrons RTÉ broadcasters Mary Kennedy and Marty Whelan.

‘Time’ is the theme of this year’s event and The Carers Association points out that there has been a significant increase in the number of older carers recorded by the Central Statistics Office in recent years who have given decades of their time to caring for loved ones.

Over 30,000 carers are now aged over 60 while a further 8,676 are aged over 75 years of age – leaving any thoughts of retirement as a distant memory for most.

With 187,000 family carers dedicating their lives to looking after dependent loved ones every day, The Carers Association annually recognises their work with these two very special awards. The Young Carer of the Year Award represents some 6,500 young carers who are looking after family members who are sick or unable to look after themselves.

Last year’s winners were also in attendance; Ann Curtin (70) from Limerick – the recipient of the 2013 Carer of the Year Award cares for her husband Michael who suffered a stroke and her son Andrew who is a wheelchair user. The Young Carer of the Year, Niamh Duffy (13) from Cork, helps to care for her younger brother Finn, who has Autism.

This year the awards are focussing on ‘Time’ and how much time out of their own lives that carers spend looking after others – often to the detriment of their own health and well-being. The statistics clearly point to the fact that many carers are still care-giving well into retirement age and beyond, illustrating that many carers have spent the majority of their lives in a caring role. The Carers Association offers respite to carers so that they can enjoy some time to themselves with the knowledge that their loved ones are being well taken care of by trained professionals.

In another reference to time, this year for the first time, The Carers Association is presenting a very special award to the two dedicated patrons of The Carers Association; Mary Kennedy and Marty Whelan who have each given 10 years of support to the Carers Association with their patronage. The award is being presented by Young Carer of the Year 2012 Sam Norris who today was also honoured with the ‘Young Carers Ambassador Award’, which acknowledges the work that Sam has carried out on behalf of young carers in Ireland in his young life to date.

Catherine Cox, Head of Communications at The Carers Association says, “today is a very special day for The Carers Association. We are extremely happy to present these very special awards to our patrons and also to Sam who does a wonderful job at representing young carers every day. We could not have got so far without their support and we are thrilled that they are here today to accept the awards on our behalf. So many people put their time and energy into caring for their loved ones for very lengthy periods and every year we honour them and once again we are calling on the public to nominate these dedicated carers for these awards, which will be presented in November. 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.”

Application 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 Closing date for nominations is Friday 19th September 2014.