Monday 28th March 2022: Census 2022 is just around the corner and Family Carers Ireland is running a national campaign titled “Q23 – Is this Me?” to encourage all family carers to identify themselves on their census form by answering ‘Yes’ to Question 23.
Q23 asks the following:
“Do you provide regular unpaid personal help or support to a family member, neighbour or friend with a long-term illness, health issue, an issue related to old age or disability?” And If Yes, for how many hours per week?
The purpose of this question is to gain an accurate measure of the number of family carers in Ireland and the number of hours of care they provide for loved ones.
Conducted once every five years, the census gives everyone in the country an opportunity to be counted and have their voices heard. The data that is collected helps to plan for essential services such as healthcare, education, transport and social care.
As the number of family carers in Ireland today is thought to be much higher than previous figures suggest, Family Carers Ireland believes there is a crucial gap in the census figures and that many of those caring for loved ones with additional needs are not being counted because they haven't identified themselves as family carers on previous census forms.
It is vital that every person providing full or part-time care in the home answers 'Yes' to Question 23 on April 3rd. This applies to everyone regardless of whether they are in receipt of a social protection payment such as Carer's Allowance or not or whether they are providing full or part-time care.
It is also imperative that each family carer writes in the number of hours of care they provide per week, whether this is just one hour per week or if they care 168 hours. In fact, Family Carers Ireland are aware of incidences of spoiled questions in Census 2011 and 2016 due to carers writing 24/7 rather than 168 hours each week (i.e. full-time round-the-clock care).
Catherine Cox, Head of Communications and Policy, Family Carers Ireland said: "It is vital that all those providing care identify themselves as a family carer in this year's census by answering ‘Yes’ to Question 23. This is hugely important as the census provides an important opportunity for the number of family carers and their caring situations to be officially recognised and better understood.
"Data collected on health and unpaid care contribute to the funding, development and planning of services and supports for family carers and those for whom they care. Quite often a mother, father, son or daughter may not self-identify as a family carer as they see themselves defined by their relationship but it is important to note that as well as being a mother or father, they are also a family carer if they provide care for a loved one with additional care needs in the home.
"The use of the term ‘unpaid’ in the question may be confusing and may discourage recipients of social welfare supports from responding positively. We want to stress that Q23 applies to everyone regardless of whether they are in receipt of a social protection payment or not or whether they are providing full or part-time care.
"If you are caring for a loved one, please ensure you are counted on April 3rd by answering ‘Yes’ to Question 23. Together, we can ensure that the government knows the true number of family carers and the full extent of the care that they provide within their homes which prop up our health services."