Up to 100 children carers in Limerick
UP to 100 Limerick children under the age of 15, are carers for a relative. An estimated 60 children are acting as carers in county Clare. Caring for Carers, the organisation which represents 109 carers’ groups across the country, has identified 4,288 carers under the age of 15 nationally, using the latest figures from the Census. Of these, statistics suggest that around 100 are based in Limerick city and county. Mary McMahon, CEO of Caring for Carers says this is the likely figure but stressed that the objective is to identify them as individuals so they can be offered support. “The problem is that they are not always visible because they often don’t think of themselves as carers,” Mary told the Limerick Post.
“We have raised the issue with the schools because teachers may become aware of them. If students seem to be under pressure, maybe they are falling behind in schoolwork because they are tired or because of pressures at home”.
Pointing out that in neighbouring Clare where the organisation has its headquarters, there are 60 children in this position, she welcomed the new National Carers Strategy.
“As far back as 1988 the Department of Health expressed its desire to enable older people to live with dignity and to be cared for as long as possible in their own homes and 24 years on, the Government has produced a strategy that we feel provides the framework,” she said.
However, Renee Geary of the Limerick branch of Caring for Carers, said that while the evidence is there in the census, her group has not encountered carers in the age group of under 15 .
According to the care group, the youngsters may simply be taking on more housework because there is a disabled or elderly person in the home or they may have a bigger share of duties - for instance, if the person in need of care is a parent who requires bathing or feeding.
“There are a lot of people who don’t identify as carers because they are caring for a family member or a spouse. They just see it as being their duty,” concluded Renee.
9 August 1012