A new Carers room was opened at the Carers Association in Tullamore by a special guest last Friday afternoon. The ribbon was cut by former Young Carer of the Year Kelly Farrell from Ballinagar.
Fourteen year old Kelly, a student at the Sacred Heart School in Tullamore, cares for her mother Nuala along with her fater Sean.
Sheilah Kinsella, Centre Manager in Tullamore said the new room will offer a range of services to Offaly’s carers.
“It used to be a boardroom with a big table running from one end of the room to the other. We always wanted a Carers room, where they could meet their friends and look for advice. It will host support groups and offer counselling, which will begin after Carers Week,” said Ms Kinsella, who added that reflexology would also be offered.
The room will hold up to 30 Carers for meetings.
“There are always Carers in and out of here. We also have a lot of new Carers. They can use the kitchen and this room,” said Ms Kinsella.
Speaking about Kelly, she described her as “a great ambassador for the Carers Association”, and “a very popular speaker.”
Kelly explained her mum Nuala had first fallen ill when Kelly was just three years old.
She described how she helps her mum on a daily basis.”
“I get up at seven o’clock in the morning, then I make mum’s breakfast and I get her dressed and washed and make her bed. After I do that I go down to the kitchen and I prepare a bit of dinner, get the vegetables ready and I put more turf into the fire. Then I might paint her nails. We have little chats and we might play with the dogs a bit and bring them for little walks down the lane. We do the normal mother and daughter things,” said Kelly.
She has been caring for her mother since she was seven but it all began when she was three when her mother collapsed when lifting a flowerpot. “You get such a shock because you dont know what to do. When she did fall I called dad and he was actually watching an Offaly match. He came out and we brought mum straight into casualty. Doctors were coming in and out of the house, giving injections of morphine. The worst thing about it is she would be sitting on the bed and she’d be taking morphine and she would feel so sick and bloated. And as well as everything else if we were in a conversation she might just tune out straight away,” said Kelly.
She praised the work for the Carers Association in Tullamore.
“We get amazing support from the Carers Association. They help us with anything, we just have to give them a phonecall and they will be at the door. There is a lovely lady that comes in and helps mum called Anne Young,” said Kelly.
She said the new room is a wonderful new asset for the county’s carers.
“We can all go in and talk and say what’s been going on. Maybe more young carers can come in and they can have a speak as well and understand what they do is a very good thing. But most of those carers would hide but if they just speak out and say what they are doing they would get a lot of priviledge from it,” she said.
Speaking about winning Young Carer of the Year, Kelly said it is something she will treasure.
“I was amazed. It was a really good opportunity and my family were so supportive. You would be in school and girls would be running up to you saying I didn’t know you did that. Half of them didn’t really understand why I wasn’t able to go to town or to go to discos or things like that. After a while they copped on and understood that I cant go this week and they would talk to me. But some of them still ont really understand what we go through. But I’d say they will get that after a while,” she said.
Finally it was time for Kelly to cut the ribbon on the new room.
“I’m really excited. I’m very happy to be opening it and the main thing is they chose me out of anyone else to do it and that’s what really made me happy,” Kelly concluded.
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