The National CarePlus Carer of the Year 2018 Awards took place at a special ceremony in The Westin Hotel presented by broadcasters and patrons of Family Carers Ireland, Marty Whelan and Mary Kennedy. Shauna Tighe (14) from Tallaght in Dublin was announced as the Young CarePlus Carer of the Year for Dublin. She helps to care for her brother Daniel (11) who has a rare genetic condition called Sotos Syndrome. This condition causes severe intellectual disability, epilepsy and a sensory processing disorder. Daniel is non-verbal, incontinent and visually impaired with challenging behaviour and feeding difficulties. Shauna helps out with bathing, feeding and helping to get Daniel up and down the stairs.

When Daniel has a sensory overload, Shauna is the number one person to calm him down. She is able to administer Daniels medication and feed him with a peg, she constantly steps in to give her mam and dad a break. Daniel wakes at 3am most nights and Shauna will often get up and help her mother with him as he requires two people to care for him due to his size and behavioural difficulties. She does all of this and goes to school the next morning without ever complaining. She often takes over household chores such as ironing, dishes when her parents are busy with Daniel. Shauna has been helping to care for Daniel since she was just six years of age.

Family Carers Ireland recognised 27 family carers from across Ireland for their dedication and many sacrifices made in their caring roles.  Mrs Brown’s Boys stars Danny O’Carroll and Paddy Houlihan were also in attendance on the day as they took on ambassador roles with the organisation. According to CSO Irish Health Survey there are approximately 91,878 family carers in county Dublin. Family carers in Ireland provide 45 hours of unpaid-for care per week in their homes saving the state €10 billion every year. Today one in 10 people provide care for a loved one in the home, by 2030 demographic changes predict that one in five people will take on a caring role. “We are delighted to recognise and celebrate Carers in every county of Ireland for their trojan work as Family Carers. A huge congratulations to Shauna who is now the Dublin Careplus Young Carer of the Year 2018. Family Carers across Ireland make extraordinary sacrifices and work very hard, sometimes 24 hours a day, to provide care for their loved ones, safely, in their own homes. With limited access to services and particularly respite, Carers in Dublin are over stretched and receive little acknowledgement for their unpaid work with three quarters receiving no payment from the State” Said Catherine Cox, Head of Communications and Carer Engagement with Family Carers Ireland.

Niamh Lynch, Commercial Director of CarePlus Pharmacy commented “We are delighted to support Family Carers Ireland in recognising and celebrating carers for the second year through the CarePlus Carer of the Year Awards. Our pharmacists meet carers in their communities every day and we are constantly in awe of the enormous sacrifices they make. We offer a huge congratulations to the inspirational carers who have been awarded today for their commitment and contribution.”