A Cahir woman has been named Netwatch Tipperary Family Carer of the Year 2021.
Maureen O’Brien was recognised for her contribution to the ‘forgotten frontline’ of family carers who provide support for family members with additional needs by Family Carers Ireland, a charity set up to support those providing care to loved ones.
Maureen cares for her husband who is in his 80s who has limited mobility following a stroke, and her son who has a stage 4 brain tumor.
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.
More than 500,000 people like Maureen 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 care provided each year by family carers would cost the state €20bn a year to replace.
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.”
Mr Molloy also said that the awards are about paying tribute to all the 500,000 family carers in Ireland and the work that they do.
“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.”
Colin Hayes, Netwatch Head of Business, Ireland & UK said: “This is our third year partnering with Family Carers Ireland, and yet again we are blown away by the level of sacrifice, care and commitment shown by each and every carer.”