71 per cent increase in Ireland’s Family Carers since Census 2006

March 18 2011, 10:02am

Carers Count Campaign

Family Carers Urged to Answer Question 22 in Census 2011

21st March 2011

In 2010 the Central Statistics Office estimated that Ireland could have as many as 274,000 Family Carers*, an increase nationwide of almost 71 per cent on the number of Carers counted in the last Census in 2006.

The Carers Count Campaign, a public information campaign designed to inform Ireland’s Carers about Census 2011, launches nationally today. The purpose of the campaign is to make all Carers aware that Question 22, which refers to “unpaid help” in next month’s Census, is about Family Carers and to ensure all Family Carers, both full and part-time, answer this question. Census 2011 will take place on Sunday April 10th.

According to the Carers Count Campaign organisers, an alliance of 10 care related groups, Census 2011 provides a unique opportunity to quantify the number of and unpaid work provided by Ireland’s Family Carers. A true picture will depend on all carers firstly recognising that they provide “unpaid help” as asked in Question 22, and then accurately counting and filling in their weekly hours of care on the Census form.

Quantifying the work of Ireland’s carers will ensure that caring organisations, the HSE and other service providers can provide adequate services for Carers and their families. It will ultimately provide Government with accurate data to shape future policy. In addition, the valuable unpaid work of Family Carers, estimated to contribute work to the value of EUR2.5bn per annum, will be officially recognised.

Caring hours do not only refer to hands-on care like dressing or feeding, but also to essential shopping and doctors visits or hours of essential companionship or supervision. Tools are available at www.census.ie/carerscount and the specially developed myCareTime app can be downloaded from iTunes to help Family carers to track and quantify their hours of caring each week.

For the first time in Ireland, Census 2011 recognises and will include persons under 15 years of age who “provide regular unpaid help”. A Young Carer is a child or young person under 15 whose life is affected in a significant way by the need to provide care for a family or household member who has a long term illness, disability, addiction or other care requirement.

Accurate figures on the number of Young Carers and the extent of care that they provide will enable the planning and provision of support services to help Ireland’s Young Carers. The Carers Count Campaign says it is vital that Young Carers be included when filling out the Census form, particularly as Ireland has no dedicated services or support for Young Carers. This lies in stark contrast to service provision for young carers in the UK.

“In the 2006 Census, almost 161,000 Irish people identified themselves as providing regular unpaid personal help. Based on CSO figures from last year and our own first hand experience, we believe this figure now vastly under-represents the numbers of Family Carers in Ireland. We believe the gap is mainly in the group of carers who are also in paid employment or education, and therefore do not recognise themselves to be Carers, and under age carers. However, there is also a deficit in the fulltime carer’s numbers, as many full-time Family Carers on the State Carers Allowance do not consider themselves to be providing unpaid care, which is incorrect. The Carers Allowance is not pay and these carers should answer “yes” to question 22. There is also ambiguity about what hours to count, with essential companionship or supervision, not always viewed as regular personal help.” says Frank Goodwin, Carers Count Campaign and Chairperson of The Carers Association.

“In Census 2011 Carers will be asked to calculate the number of hours per week that they provide regular unpaid help. In the last Census, Carers had tick-box options, so we are hopeful that this change will paint a more accurate picture of Family Carers in Ireland today. We urge all those who provide help of this type to make their mark on Question 22 and calculate their weekly hours of care. It is only by getting accurate information on the number and amount of work carried out by Family Carers that their work can be recognised and adequate service provision put in place to support them and their loved ones” concluded Frank Goodwin.

The Carers Count Campaign is an alliance of the following care related groups, The Carers Association of Ireland; Care Alliance Ireland; Caring for Carers Ireland; Cúram; Inclusion Ireland; Age Action Ireland; The Alzheimer Society of Ireland; Crosscare; Disability Federation of Ireland; Irish Senior Citizens Parliament. Carers Count is a non-political campaign and is supported by the CSO. Family Carers are reminded that information collected in the Census is guaranteed by law to be completely confidential as regards people’s identities and addresses.



*Quarterly National Household Survey: Caring Module, Quarter 3, 2009, CSO.

For Further Information / Interviews: John Masterson 086 2448692

A number of sample scenarios to demonstrate common caring situations are available on request.

Launch Photography by Photocall Ireland, 01-8747124

Editor’s Note:

The exact wording of Question 22 will be: “Do you provide regular unpaid personal help for a friend or family member, with a long term illness, health problem or disability?”

  • “Regular” is deemed to range from one hour, day or night per week, to occasional weekends or holiday relief, up to fulltime day and night care. It is a recurring commitment made by carers to those that they care for.
  • Carers receiving the Carers Allowance or other such payment from the Department of Social Welfare, are deemed “unpaid” and should therefore answer Question 22.
  • Carers with fulltime jobs, who care for their loved ones when they are not at work, provide “regular unpaid personal help” and should answer Question 22.
  • “Personal help” includes regular daily tasks that the person receiving care is unable to perform for themselves. This varies for those who are elderly, physically or mentally disabled or suffering from a variety of health problems, but will typically include washing, dressing, feeding, shopping and medical visits.
  • “Personal help” also includes being there when the person cared for cannot be left alone.