John* from Cloynes, county Monaghan, was shortlisted for 2014 national Irish Red Cross Carer of the Year after winning the regional heat for Ireland’s North-East. John came joint-runner up for the national title at the annual Irish Red Cross awards ceremony in Dublin’s Mansion House on Friday, 14th November 2014.

John has been a full time carer to his mother for more than 20 years, since she began suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.  To prevent his mother becoming upset or distressed when away from her son, he cares for her every day with no opportunity for respite.

Looking after his mother’s day to day needs, John takes care of all the housework and meals and ensures that she takes any necessary medication. John was nominated for the award by his cousin Tommy, who said “John devotes the full 24 hours every day to his mother’s care. He is patient, kind and caring”. Tommy added that “As his mother loves music, John plays it for her regularly and takes her to mass every Saturday”.

Carers in county Monaghan give more than 61,800 hours unpaid care to the county’s sick, elderly and vulnerable each week.  Of Monaghan’s 2682 carers, 43% regularly work a minimum of one to 14 hours a week, whilst a further 40.50% work between 15 and 43 hours a week.

The Irish Red Cross Carer of the Year Award is an annual award open to all voluntary carers in Ireland. The award acknowledges the dedication of carers at home and in the community who provide an essential service to the vulnerable and display true humanitarian values.

As part of its Health and Social Care Programme, the Irish Red Cross aims to deliver humanitarian services to vulnerable people and communities in need across the country.  In support of Ireland’s carers the charity offers a range of resources and services; including the Carers Handbook, a ‘Helping You to Care’ course, therapeutic hand care and skin camouflage services.

  • The second runner up for the 2014 Irish Red Cross Carer of the Year Award is:
    • Mrs Nora Doherty, county Cork, who has given voluntary care to more than 10 members of her family and extended family over the last 53 years. All of whom were sick or unable to care for themselves. Mrs Doherty now cares for her husband who has hip knee and heart problems. Mrs Doherty and her husband are both in their 80’s.
  • The national winner is:
    • Mrs Eleanor Ryder, county Mayo, who has not taken a day off for nearly 19 years, since her husband Seamus Ryder contracted viral encephalitis and suffered an acute heart attack. As his Carer, Mrs Ryder monitors her husband each night for seizures, hallucinations, part-paralysis, chest pain and unconsciousness. She also takes care of Seamus’ day to day needs; preparing his meals, administering medication and accompanying him to hospital appointments.
  • There are 187112 voluntary carers in Ireland. Source: 2011 Census

*Full names have not been given in order to respect the privacy wished of the family.