Inside Story Podcast: Carers in crisis reveal their story

How much do we ask of those among us who have dependents in need of 24-hour care?

Siobhán Powell (32) who suffers from Ring Chromosome 8 with her mother Johanne at their home in Fethard-on-Sea, Co Wexford. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Siobhán Powell (32) who suffers from Ring Chromosome 8 with her mother Johanne at their home in Fethard-on-Sea, Co Wexford. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

 

How much do we as a society ask of those among us who have dependents in need of round-the-clock care?

On the second episode of Inside Story, a new podcast series from The Irish Times, Rosita Boland talks about Johanne and Alan Powell, a couple in their 60s facing retirement and still caring for their profoundly disabled daughter, Siobhán, at home in Co Wexford.

Exhausted and frustrated after three decades caring for Siobhán, who cannot walk, is nonverbal, does not eat solid food and has only one kidney, for the past three years the Powells have been seeking a residential care place for her. She is on a waiting list of 61 people in the county.

“I want residential care for my daughter. There is no such thing as retiring for carers unless you die . . . Can I survive 10 more years of this?” she asked. “We’ll need someone to wheel us around then,” says Alan. “I want my life back, and my wife back.”

Their story, as told by Boland last week, elicited a huge response from readers thanks to the honesty of the Powells and their desire for a national debate about the role of carers.

Today Rosita writes about another family who face a similar problem, the Colliers.

For more on Carers in Crisis, pick up The Irish Times tomorrow and Saturday. You can find more information about Irish Times podcasts here.

Tweet about the podcast: @hlinehan