It’s long been recognised that the demand’s of Ireland’s ageing population and higher numbers of people with registered disabilities can place huge responsibilities on carers The government has pursued a policy of keeping the elderly within their own homes and communities for as long as possible, however, this often means family caregivers shoulder much of the burden of care.

The latest statistics show there are almost 200,000 carers in Ireland, and almost 4,000 of these carers are under the age of 15.

All the above highlights just how critical carers are within society and how important it is for carers to be recognised and nurtured in their own right. Asking the question “Who cares for the carers in society?” is understandably difficult as many carers fall under the radar and often don’t come to the attention of Social Services until it’s too late.

Caring for carers

Caring can be a lonely activity, with many carers expressing their feelings of isolation and concerns about a lack of available support. Solutions can include joining local carer groups and organisations, while also taking advantage of the professional home health care services offered in your locality.

Carers need to put themselves first

Many carers find it difficult to devote the time needed for their own self-care and social needs. This can be a big mistake, as it is all too easy to neglect your own feelings and health or personal needs. It’s always important to think about how the person you care for would cope if you weren’t around or no longer had the ability to provide care.

Some of the questions all carers should ask themselves are:

– Do I get enough time to do what I want or need?
– Does my care role prevent me from doing all the things that make me happy?
– Has caring stopped me from going to work, or even attending school?
– Is caring impacting my own health in any way?

Other issues to consider include whether you can cope in the present circumstances and if there is anybody around you can talk to about your worries or concerns.

Common issues that can affect carers

Some of the most common health or mental concerns affecting carers include:

– Low mood or depression
– Regular aches and pains due to lifting or handling issues
– Lack of sleep
– Snacking “on the go” and failing to eat proper meals
– Feelings of anger or resentment against the person being cared for

Making time to visit your local GP and finding out about all available carer services, such as emergency respite care for elderly people in your area could offer the solutions you need.

Ultimately, caring for the carers within society should be a concern for all of the health and social care agencies within your locality. However, it’s all too often neglected until emergency situations arise.

Caremark specialises in providing essential home care services and elderly health care in Ireland. Get in touch to find out more.