More than 250 carers from across Ireland gathered for the Family Carers 'National Respite Weekend' which took place recently at Clayton White's Hotel.
With family carers under increasing pressure, access to respite is essential to allow them to continue in their caring role.
Family Carers Ireland, along with the hotel, organised a range of activities to help and support the attendees including mindfulness, massage, an excursion to Johnstown Castle and information on their rights and entitlements as family carers.
More than 250 family carers and former carers took part in the event including Paula Robinson, the 2017 CarePlus Carer of the Year, and each guest received a goody bag.
One in 20 people in Ireland is a family carer, providing €10bn in unpaid care to the State each year.
By 2030, demographic changes predict that one in five people will take on a caring role.
Due to funding cuts, staff shortages and bed closures, respite has become almost non-existent and programmes such as the National Respite Weekend are critical to redress this.
'Access to respite is vital to give family carers a break from their caring role, which can be extremely demanding, sometimes providing care 24 hours a day for loved-ones,' said Catherine Cox, Head of Communications and Carer Engagement, Family Carers Ireland.
'We are seeing the physical and mental health of carers compromised due to lack of resources.
'It is particularly important that family carers' own care needs are met and that the resources are available to support them to provide care safely in the home.'
Catherine said the group was delighted to welcome so many family carers from across the country and former carers, 'who provide unparalleled peer support for current carers, particularly those going through difficult times or crisis'.
Family Carers Ireland provides a range of supports and services for family carers through its 26 resource centres nationwide and advocates fairness for carers.
The organisation is currently running its year-long 'Carers in Crisis' campaign to highlight a lack in resources available across the country including home care, respite and the 'postcode lottery' of necessary community supports to those in a caring role. For more information see www.familycarers.ie