Mayo woman, Eleanor Ryder has not taken a day off for nearly 19 years, since her husband Seamus Ryder contracted viral encephalitis and suffered an acute heart attack. Mrs Ryder, who is in her 60’s, was named as the 2014 Carer of the Year at the annual Irish Red Cross Carer of the Year awards in Dublin’s Mansion House on Friday, 14th November 2014.
Encephalitis, an acute inflammation of the brain, left Mr Ryder with permanent damage to two areas of his brain in 1995, resulting in regular epileptic and anxiety based seizures, dramatically reducing his motor skills and memory problems. An acute heart attack four years later resulted in Mr Ryder having 14 stents placed in his heart.
As his Carer, Mrs Ryder monitors her husband each night for seizures, hallucinations, part-paralysis, chest pain and unconsciousness. She also takes care of Seamus’ day to day needs; preparing his meals, administering medication and accompanying him to hospital appointments.
The couple’s daughter Jennifer Ryder, who nominated her mother for the award, told how her parents will not go to sleep before 3am as her father is so scared of having another seizure. Adding, “Mum has not got a full night’s sleep since 1999 and sleeps on the floor or a chair when Dad has to go into hospital as he cannot communicate with the nurses himself”.
The Irish Red Cross Carer of the Year Award is an annual award open to all voluntary carers in Ireland. The award acknowledges the dedication of carers at home and in the community who provide an essential service to the vulnerable and display true humanitarian values.
As part of its Health and Social Care Programme, the Irish Red Cross aims to deliver humanitarian services to vulnerable people and communities in need across the country. In support of Ireland’s Carers the charity offers a range of resources and services; including the Carers Handbook, ‘Helping You to Care’ course, therapeutic hand care and skin camouflage services.
Notes to editor:
For more information please contact Rebecca Dunne, Irish Red Cross, 087 743 3275 / 01642 4628 / firstname.lastname@example.org.
· The runners up for the 2014 Irish Red Cross Carer of the Year Award are:
o Mr John Martin, county Monaghan, who has cared for his elderly mother for more than 20 years. Mr Martin’s mother suffers from Alzheimer’s disease and is fully reliant on her son. Mr Martin is in his 60’s and his mother is in her 90’s.
o Mrs Nora Doherty, county Cork, who has given voluntary care to more than 10 members of her family and extended family over the last 53 years. All of whom were sick or unable to care for themselves. Mrs Doherty now cares for her husband who has hip knee and heart problems. Mrs Doherty and her husband are both in their 80’s.