Irish HomeCare – What Do Carers Do?

In terms of Irish Home Care, what help is available if an older person requires help with day to day tasks or staying in their own home? What is the difference between a family and a professional carer? Do family carers need help and support from professional home carers?

Family Carers

A carer is someone who cares for a person who needs regular assistance because of an illness, disability or the inability to do some everyday tasks on their own. Family members are often unpaid as carers and can find they are looking after a family member, partner or close friend for long hours, often 24 hours a day.  Apparently, many family carers don’t see themselves as carers initially. As the role moves from providing a helping hand to becoming a part-time or full-time caring role, it often takes time for both the carer and the person receiving care to see that the caring role has developed. It can often happen that carers don’t see the significance and importance of their role. Of course, it can also happen that carers feel they are under-appreciated and their role is overlooked by others. Family carers often need the support of others, partly so they get a break and a chance to recharge batteries and partly for emotional support too. Family carers may not have received training in first aid or manual handling so they need to be aware of their own limitations and the need to take care of their own health.

Professional Carers in Irish Home Care

This is where the role of professional home carers comes in. As a professional care assistant, carers may be the only carer for an older person, visiting them daily. If that is the case, a client will have two carers, partly so that they can share the workload over the seven days of the week and partly so one can cover the other for holidays or days off. Some clients require assistance (be that companionship, help with personal needs or assistance with mobility and meal preparation) from professional carers for five or six days of the week with family members doing the weekend duties. Home carers can also provide respite care and this involves giving family members a break from the role, be it for a two week holiday to one day a week.

How Family Carers and Professional Carers Can Work Together

When you consider that 8% of all adults, 350,000 people in Ireland, are unpaid carers, those who are caring for a family member, it really emphasises the importance of family and professional carers for our society.  Family carers can end up feeling unsupported and isolated, they may be overworked and exhausted, their own health and fitness may suffer. Even having another carer on hand to provide respite one or two days a week can give them a much-needed break. It also means that they can talk to another carer about the care, ask advice or opinions, feel that they are not alone.

Would You Like To Work As A Professional Carer?

At Comfort Keepers, we have 1200 carers nationwide and due to an increase in client numbers, we are currently recruiting more professional home carers.  If you have been caring for a family member in the past and feel you have the right experience to become a professional carer, do get in touch.

Do you think most family carers require the support and help of a professional carer?