Today marks the start of Carer's Week organised by the National Carers Association. In Ireland there are 182,884 carers according to the 2011 Census.
Download key stats on Carer's here.
The most recent Census of Population defines a ‘carer’ as someone who:
"...provides regular, unpaid personal help for a friend or family member with a long-term illness, health problem or disability (including problems which are due to old age). Personal help includes help with basic tasks such as feeding and dressing."
“The value of Ireland’s carers cannot be overstated,” says Eddie O’Toole, Operations Director with Bluebird Care.
“Carers in Ireland provide the equivalent of €2.5 billion in unpaid care every year with this figure projected to grow to over €3 billion by 2021. The figures provided by the Carers Association suggest that in order to manage the current carer to disabled population ratios, Ireland will need an additional 44,829 carers by 2021,” he says.
Entering the Irish market six years ago, Bluebird Care who now have 18 offices nationwide, use best practice care given their business model was born in the UK where stringent care legislation is in place.
Recognising the value of the home carer, Bluebird Care sees itself as adding significant valued to the caring sector. Eddie O’Tools says, “there’s evidence-based research which confirms that disabled, unwell, elderly and rehabilitating individuals recuperate much better at home than in hospital. Ireland has a massive ‘caring culture’ and the stark figures by the Carer’s Association demonstrate the demand for private care, which can help offset the length of stay in Irish hospitals.
“Bluebird Care is a nationwide network of expert carers who give daily respite, personal care and support to a growing and ageing population. Given the growth in our population preventative and rehabilitative health care will become even more important,” he added.
The work undertaken by the expert Bluebird Care team means that people of all ages can be assisted to remain in the safety, security and comfort of their own home.
At national level, a senior team oversees strategy, policy and common procedures, however each branch of the company is owner managed so customers receive a tailored local service.
Varying circumstances result in many family carers having to adopt a life-changing role untrained and under-supported, while juggling full-times jobs, families, personal and social commitments.
Bluebird Care Operations Manager Eddie O’Toole says, “the vital work of the family carer often goes unrecognised and under-supported. Although very rewarding, their caring role is constant and being on 24 hour call can be physically, mentally and emotionally draining. The staff at Bluebird Care work with patients and their families to offer, help, support, relief and even the smallest comforts as having a cup of tea and time-out is invaluable to the family carer”
“National Carers Week is a fantastic initiative to celebrate the dedication and commitment of family carers throughout Ireland, a time to acknowledge the great work they do and to say 'Thank You' for being there every day.”