Mary Galvin has cared for her granddaughter Máiréad for the past 33 years. Máiréad has severe cerebral palsy, and is entirely dependent on carers for all aspects of daily life. She attends day care from 9-5, but is cared for by Mary at all other times. Mary also advocates for Máiréad, ensuring she has access to the best possible healthcare.
“She has her good days, her bad days, her off days – same as you or I do,” Mary says of Máiréad. “She has good nights, and you might be up all night with her”. Her GP, Dr. Kieran Harkin, has said of Mary’s selfless devotion to her caring role: “I’m impressed by her, really, total love for her granddaughter: for the intense physical work that’s required, she makes nothing of it, and I’ve never heard her complain. I’ve never heard a single complaint. When you see what Mary puts in, it’s really very hard not to say, ‘Well, if Mary can do this at her age, maybe I can do the same’.”
Now aged 85, Mary wanted to be a nurse when she was younger, and she now feels she has got the hang of taking care of people. “I’m used to it now. Sure my God, after 33 years! Do you know, only for Máiréad I don’t think I would be still here. It’s what keeps me going! I know I have to keep going because of her. Otherwise I suppose I’d be long gone”.
If, like Mary, you care for someone you might find our Help and Advice section useful.