Who Is A Carer?

You Are A Care Giver If You:

  • Take care of someone who has a chronic illness, disease or disability
  • Manage medications or talk to doctors and nurses on someone’s behalf.
  • Help bathe or dress someone who is frail or disabled.
  • Take care of household chores, meals, or bills for someone who cannot do these things alone.

When The Person You Care For Is An Adult

The person you care for has the right to make decisions about his or her life. You should respect that right unless your loved one has lost the capacity to make decisions or could put others in danger through his or her behaviour.

In December 2015, the Government passed the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act. This new Act, when commenced, will have significant implications for people who are caring for someone whose capacity to make decisions may be impaired. The Act provides a statutory framework for individuals who have impaired capacity or may have impaired capacity in the future to make legally-binding agreements to be assisted and supported in making decisions about their welfare and their property and affairs. More information is available here

When a Parent is a Care Giver

The return of an adult child to the home can be stressful for both the parents and the adult child. Often, this homecoming reproduces the earlier joys or struggles that may have occurred before the child became independent. This may result in the early days of such a move being a very emotive experience for both the parent/s and the adult child. It may be prudent for the family to have good support if needed at this time to get the new situation off to a good start.

Parents probably have rules that they want to have respected. But the adult child needs to be treated as an adult, and some rules may presume the wrong kind of dependence.

As parents age, providing care often becomes more difficult. In time, one or both parents may become ill and require care themselves. Alternative care plans and living arrangements should be discussed with the adult child well before such a crisis occurs.

Parents can also care without the adult child returning home, especially if they live nearby, but also long-distance by visiting, staying over, phoning, listening, providing respite for the main carer, etc.

When a Child is a Care Giver

A young carer  is under the age of 18 and provides care for a family or household member who has an illness, disability, addiction or other care need. The young carer may be the main carer in the home or else helps the main carer. A young carer may do a lot of things, including household chores, medical care, help with toileting and bathing or emotional support. The need to carry out these tasks may happen regularly or only occasionally. Therefore, no two caring situations are the same. Sometimes caring is a mostly positive experience but in other cases caring can have a negative effect on a young person’s health, development and happiness.

When a member of your family is diagnosed with MS you will probably experience lots of changes. There may be lots of different professionals involved with your family and relationships between family members can change, even if only for a short while

After diagnosis, some people are glad to find out what is actually wrong with them. However, it is also usual for them, and their family, to have a whole range of feelings – such as shock, anger, sadness or fear – about MS. This may mean people are upset or are short tempered. Remember that even the people who haven’t got MS have to live with it. So if it’s your dad who has MS, your mum or dad may both be sad and scared. 

The Young Carers Association provides a range of information and support services for young carers, including information and advice, needs assessments of young carers and their families, group work for young carers, education and employment support, peer mentoring, respite activity breaks and online support. More information can be found here

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