Cork carer concerned about respite options this summer 

While the rest of society is opening up again after the pandemic, Ms Maddox stressed that it’s not the “end game” for carers yet as many face exhaustion with no possibility of a summer break in sight.
Cork carer concerned about respite options this summer 

Volunteers who assisted during the Covid pandemic were honoured at a special recognition event. Pictured at the event (L/R): Adam Lacey (Manager, Cork Volunteer Centre), Liz Maddox (Chair of Cork County Older People's Council), Cllr. Gillian Coughlan (Mayor of the County of Cork) Photo: Colm Lougheed

A CORK carer has raised concerns about a lack of respite options available this summer for families looking after loved ones full-time.

Elizabeth Maddox, who heads the Castlemartyr Family Carers and Disability Support Group and is the chair of Cork’s Older People’s Council was recently honoured at a special recognition event seeking to acknowledge heroes of the pandemic during National Volunteer Week 2022 at Cork County Hall.

While the rest of society is opening up again after the pandemic, Ms Maddox stressed that it’s not the “end game” for carers yet as many face exhaustion with no possibility of a summer break in sight.

Elizabeth, who has been caring for a loved one full-time for more than 25 years, said there is a lack of care options outside of nursing home facilities for young people.

“I don’t believe that anyone should have to go into a nursing home before their time,” she said. “However, this remains the only option for many people. I’ve seen this happening so many times.”

She spoke of how some males are reluctant to speak about their situation.

“I had one man say to me that he would not dare let people in his community know that he had been caring for his wife for decades. He didn’t want to bring it up with friends or in pub conversations. This has been the case with a few men even though it shouldn’t have to be an embarrassing thing to admit to.”

Ms Maddox emphasised how burnout can be a challenging issue for carers to address.

“I am very lucky because I have a good support system but most carers need a break. Although family carers seem to be over the worst of Covid, it’s not the end game yet. Carers have been locked down even more now. They are often very careful about talking about burnout because they don’t want to lead the person they are caring for to feel like a burden.”

Ms Maddox stressed that a family carer strategy needs to be put in place by the government.

“I would like to see that change for generations of carers and their families coming behind me,” she said.

To find out more about the Castlemartyr Family Carers and Disability Support Group check out their Facebook page.

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