Carers chance
to finally count

MID-LOUTH carers are urged to stand up and be counted in next month’s census.

MID-LOUTH carers are urged to stand up and be counted in next month’s census.

In 2010 the Central Statistics Office estimated that Ireland could now have as many as 274,000 family carers, an increase nationwide of almost 71% on the number of carers counted in the last Census in 2006. This would put the number of family carers in Louth now at 7,220, as opposed to the 4,226 at the last official count.    

The Carers Count Campaign, a public information campaign designed to inform Louth Carers about Census 2011, was launched last week. The purpose of the campaign is to make all carers aware that Question 22, which refers to “unpaid help” in next month’s Census, is about Family Carers and to ensure all Family Carers in Louth, both full and part-time, answer this question. Census 2011 will take place on Sunday April 10.    

According to the Carers Count Campaign organisers, an alliance of 10 care related groups, Census 2011 provides a unique opportunity to quantify the number of and unpaid work provided by Louth’s Family Carers. A true picture will depend on all carers firstly recognising that they provide “unpaid help” as asked in Question 22, and then accurately counting and filling in their weekly hours of care on the Census form.

Quantifying the work of Ireland’s carers will ensure that caring organisations, the HSE and other service providers can ensure adequate service provision for Carers and their families.  It will also ultimately provide Government with accurate data to shape future policy.  In addition, the valuable unpaid work of Family Carers, estimated to save the State over EUR2.5bn per annum, will be officially recognised.      The exact wording of Question 22 will be: “Do you provide regular unpaid personal help for a friend or family member, with a long term illness, health problem or disability?”. 

“Regular” is deemed to range from one hour, day or night per week, to occasional weekends or holiday relief, up to fulltime day and night care.  It is a recurring commitment made by Louth carers to those that they care for.