Family Carers Cork: January 12, 2016
Gertrude Cotter interviews members of Family Carers Ireland: Mary MacDonald, Peter Cox, Pat O’Malley, Kitty O’Donohue
Summary: Ms. Cotter introduces Family Carers Ireland as a nonprofit, political organization, based in Cork, which aims to be a voice and support system for those who take care of family dependents. Mary MacDonald takes care of her elderly daughter Shenade who has cerebral palsy. She describes the life experience of caring for someone who has a disability and says her children “got along fairly well” with their sister. Ms. MacDonald laments the austerity in recent years for family carers and the quality of services, as well as recounts the “bureaucratic” slowness and austerity that seemed to hinder care support services for her daughter. Mr. Cox then talks about his administrative role as the regional leader for Family Carers Ireland in Cork; he is an advocate for this group, politically and publicly. Mr. Cox says that “anyone” can become a carer at any moment—like a sudden debilitating disease in one’s family—and says Family Carers Ireland is there to support anyone in this situation. Home respite, or a break for the carer, is one common service. Ms. O’Donohue describes her husband’s death because of what she sees as false diagnosis and bad medical prescription (anti-depressants); she says many family carers are not listened to about their loved ones. She says the computer course offered by the Family Carers Ireland helped her “get back on her feet” by meeting others in similar situations. Mr. Cox looks forward to the upcoming election with anticipation that political parties will promise better support and services for carers. Finally, Mr. O’Malley describes taking care of his wife who had poor lower-body strength because of childhood polio, particularly the financial struggles. Mr. Cox concludes with a powerful message of “you have a vote” and reminds the electorate to ask politicians to implement the National Strategy.