Johanne is County Wexford's Carer of the Year
a WOMAN, who for 31 years has looked after her daughter who has severe intellectual and physical disabilities, is Wexford's Carer of the Year.
Johanne Powell and her partner Alan, who are both in their 60s, have looked after their only child Siobhan and have been untiring in their care of her since 1984.
'I think that there are many more deserving people than me,' she told this newspaper following the presentation at the Carers Association premises in Henrietta Street.
Speaking about Siobhan's care, Johanne said it had been more difficult for 10 years when her husband was a seamen, often away for six to eight weeks at a time, and she was unable to get out.
'He has been home since then and he's been marvellous, but I was more or less stuck at home before.'
Asked what special qualities you need to be a good carer, Johanne said, 'you just do what you have to do'.
'There's nothing special about it. It's what all parents do, you get up in the morning and get them dressed and you cope.. you have good parents and some parents that can't cope, but I'm lucky with me daughter because she's very small and she's got her father's temperament, not mine thank God.'
The Carers Association said Johanne and Alan have been untiring in their care to Siobhan. As Joanne is originally from Norway she has no family support nearby. They have only four hours Home Support a week and Siobhan goes to Ard Aoibhinn on a daily basis.
The couple, who live in Fethard on Sea, have to do everything for Siobhan as she is unable to carry out any daily tasks herself. They have to wash, dress, feed and provide for all her daily needs.
The respite they receive is limited and as Joanne and Alan are getting older themselves they are finding it really difficult to cope with the level of care that Siobhan requires.
Carrying and lifting has caused wear and tear on them over the years and they are really feeling the effects of years of caring.
At this stage in their lives Joanne and Alan's main concern is what will happen Siobhan when they pass away, she has no other siblings and no extended family close by. Joanne is now lobbying for a residential place for Siobhan to live in as her home for the rest of her life, which will give Johanne and Alan peace of mind as this stage of their life. Their social life is very limited as it is not easy to find anybody that is capable and comfortable looking after a 31-year-old disabled woman.
Johanne not only looks after Siobhan full-time, she is a great advocate for other carers in a similar situation to herself and encourages and empowers them to fight for the rights of the cared for person. She is a great inspiration to other carers and is not afraid to take on the system when she feels passionate about the issue and is prepared to go to any length to fight for the rights of the cared for person. Johanne is an amazing carer and person who lobbies not only for herself but also on behalf of others.