A BALLON man who lovingly cared for his late wife who had suffered illness was named as this year’s Carlow Carer of the Year.
Patrick Grant (91) from Ballon was announced as the CarePlus Pharmacy Carlow Carer of the Year 2017 at a special event at KCLR studios on Wednesday 31 October.
Nominated by his daughter Teresa, who lives in the UK, Patrick cared for his wife Theresa for close to 20 years, as she had a number of health issues such as insulin dependent diabetes and mobility issues.
They would have been married 64 years on 30 September but, sadly, Theresa passed away on 4 September of this year, aged 85.
Patrick cherished his wife, taking her breakfast in bed each morning and ensuring that all her medication was taken as prescribed. Patrick’s daughter Gretta explained: “He did everything for her: get her out of bed, bring her breakfast, wash and dress her, get her into a wheelchair and bring her shopping.”
While there were many offers of help and assistance from family, Patrick preferred to do it himself. “He’d say ‘I love your mum and as long as I have breath I will do it’. He’s amazing,” said Gretta. “He did not mind at all; he just loved doing it. For him, that was his responsibility; he was her husband.”
Up until shortly before Theresa’s passing, the couple would attend the song and story sessions in Rathoe, Saturday evening Mass in Ballon and do the weekly shopping in Tullow on a Friday.
With her husband, Theresa maintained her independence, despite her ill health.
“We had a routine,” said Patrick. “It’s only when she is gone when you miss that routine.”
Gretta added: “They had a very strong relationship; they went everywhere together. They were just glued together.”
Patrick and Theresa had shared a great love of dancing and travelled near and far for dances, winning many awards.
Mary Walsh, Family Carers Ireland family support officer, commented: “We are absolutely delighted that Patrick has been awarded the title of the CarePlus Pharmacy Carlow Carer of the Year 2017. Carers play an absolutely vital role in society and they are, at times, the forgotten workforce.”
Patrick was presented with a gift from CarePlus Pharmacy and Family Carers Ireland.
The Carlow man will now attend a special ceremony in Dublin on Wednesday 22 November honouring award recipients from across the country.
Patrick was stunned but delighted to receive the award. “I thought there must be others better than me, but that’s life. You never expect it.”
Gretta added: “I told him to enjoy it and to be proud. This was Mum’s way of thanking you for everything you had done for her.”
For Patrick, Theresa is never far from him. “She never left me,” remarked Patrick. “You know her spirit is here. She is still a help to me.”
Niamh Lynch, commercial director of CarePlus Pharmacy, said: “These awards present an important opportunity to celebrate the dedication and support that carers provide to their loved ones every day throughout the year.”
One family carer will be chosen as Ireland’s Carer of the Year 2017 at what will be the 11th annual awards ceremony. This year, four regional Young Carers of the Year will once again be honoured due to the significant increase in nominations for young people who are providing care in the home.