Kildare CarePlus Carer of the Year is Newbridge's Catherine O’Connor

Full time carer for her son Mark (55)

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Kildare CarePlus Carer of the Year is Newbridge's Catherine O’Connor

Martin Heydon TD, Catherine O’Connor, Sarah Jane Tracey, CarePlus; Debra and Mark O’Connor, and Kelly Ann O’Brien PIC: TONY KEANE

Catherine O’Connor from Newbridge has been named as the 2018 Kildare CarePlus Carer of the Year.

Each year Family Carers Ireland recognise carers for the extraordinary hard work and dedication involved in caring for their loved ones every day, through these national awards.

Catherine is 80 years old and is the full time carer of her son Mark who is 55 years old. Mark contracted meningitis twice when he was a baby which resulted in a diagnosis of encephalitis. He is nonverbal, wheelchair bound, doubly incontinent, epileptic and has a severe learning disability.

Catherine also raised two other children and cared for her terminally ill husband who passed away five years ago.  She was nominated by her daughter Debra as a token of the appreciation for her lifetime of work and unconditional love to Mark and all of their family.

The national CarePlus ‘Carer of the Year’ awards will take place on November 23 in the Westin Hotel in Dublin. They will be hosted by broadcasters, and patrons of the charity, Mary Kennedy and Marty Whelan. Danny O’Carroll and Paddy Houlihan from Mrs Brown’s Boys will be special guests on the day.

 According to a recent CSO Irish Health Survey, there are approximately 14,738 family carers in Kildare providing on average 45 hours of care per week in their homes. Family Carers across Ireland save the state a staggering € 10 billion each year. Today 1 in 10 people provide care for a loved one in the home - by 2030, demographic changes predict that one in five people will take on a caring role.

“We are delighted to recognise and celebrate Carers in every county of Ireland for their trojan work as Family Carers. A huge congratulations to Catherine who is now the Kildare Careplus Carer of the Year 2018. Family Carers across Ireland make extraordinary sacrifices and work very hard, sometimes 24 hours a day, to provide care for their loved ones, safely, in their own homes. With limited access to services and particularly respite, Carers in Kildare are over stretched and receive little acknowledgement for their unpaid work with three quarters receiving no payment from the State,” said Catherine Cox, Head of Communications and Carer Engagement with Family Carers Ireland.

Niamh Lynch, Commercial Director of CarePlus Pharmacy commented “CarePlus Pharmacy is honoured to sponsor the Family Carer of the Year awards and recognise the tireless efforts of thousands of people across the country. Carers are the heart of every community and our pharmacy owners and staff meet them every day. We are enjoying working closely with Family Carers Ireland and supporting the awards throughout our sixty community pharmacies nationwide.”

This is the second year CarePlus Pharmacy have sponsored this event.