The Male Carers Project

West Cork Carers Support Group recognises the huge role played by men in providing invaluable care & support to loved ones. We have a specific programme of supports and events aimed at engaging with, and supporting Male Carers.

Facts about Male Carers

  • Of the 187,112 people who identified themselves as Carers in the 2011 Census, 73,999 (over 39 %) were men!
  • There has been a massive 20% rise in the number of male Carers since 2006.
  • In the West Cork area 41% (more than I in 3) of Carers are male.
  • Many male Carers fail to access services.  This can be for a number of reasons, including failure to recognise themselves as Carers.

When these figures are linked to the growing body of evidence which shows that the male caring role is associated with increased incidences of poor physical health, financial difficulties, social isolation and mental health issues, supporting Male Carers has to be a key objective for West Cork Carers Support Group.

Male Carers Survey
In 2012, we conducted a survey to evaluate the experiences of male Carers, and explore ways in which male Carers may be better supported. The aim was to establish the type of supports male Carers wanted from West Cork Carers Support Group and develop our services based on the results.

Through our own registered male Carers and by networking with other established male groups in the area we received feedback that has helped us to develop an innovative programme of activities targeted specifically for the needs of male Carers. We enhanced this process by inviting representation of male Carers on to West Cork Carers Support Group’s Board of Management.

This much needed and timely project has resulted in West Cork Carers Support Group having increased contact with the male Carer population and the development of a strategy and support framework to assist male Carers, as both individuals and as a group, in the future. We have seen a significant increase in uptake for all our services by male Carers since the start of this project.

We are extremely grateful to all the male Carers who responded and took part in the survey. We truly appreciate and value the information that you have shared with us and look forward to converting your suggestions into practical services.

Examples of Feedback received:
Specific issues that affect male Carers in West Cork are:‘loneliness and not being recognized as a Carer’, ‘insufficient training and information’, ‘political recognition and official appreciation’.

As a male Carer I feel I need more ‘emotional support – one-to-one and in a group’, ‘financial support’, ‘social outings’, ‘talks about Men’s Health’.

Training/ skills needs that could help in the caring role: First Aid Courses’, ‘Cooking’  ‘Patient Handling techniques’, ‘How to handle emotions in stressful situations’, ‘Assertiveness Training’.

The survey also told us that the majority of male Carers would prefer to attend a male Carers Support group or other events set up specifically for male Carers.  
In response to this information West Cork Carers Support Group have been running a series of activities and social events specifically for male Carers and based on the feedback from the survey. Supports offered have included cookery classes, first aid workshops, talks on benefits and entitlements and issues related to caring, leisure and social events

Outcomes of the Project
Outcomes of this project are multifaceted and include raising awareness of male Carers issues, helping to support male Carers in their role, breaking isolation and building new social contacts, improving delivery of information, providing the opportunity to gain new skills and promoting the overall awareness of self-care in the male Carer population.

Benefits of this project have been:

  • An evaluation of existing service delivery methods to gain insight into “what works” for male Carers (and “what does not work” from current approaches)
  • Through networking and promotion of the survey and events, a raised awareness of the specific issues faced by male Carers across agencies and by the wider community
  • Increased engagement with hard-to-reach male Carers
  • A significant increase in the number of West Cork Carers Support Group male Carer members
  • The development of appropriate, accessible and sustainable services for male Carers
  • The establishment of male Carer services within West Cork Carers Support Group’s mainstream agenda
  • Integration of male Carers into our existing programme of supports

As the project progresses it continues to give male Carers an opportunity to meet others who find themselves in similar situations and strengthens the importance of looking after yourself when you are dedicated to supporting a loved one in need.

Due to popular demand West Cork Carers Support Group are now holding monthly Male Carers Support Group Meetings in our Bantry office from 10.30am – 12.30pm – please contact us or check the Newsletter for meeting dates and come and join us for a chat over a cuppa. We are very much looking forward to seeing you all there on a regular basis!

If you have ideas of events you would like to see on the male Carers schedule please contact West Cork Carers on 027-53848 or e-mail westcorkcarers@eircom.net

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