Caring is just ‘normal living’ for Sharron

Longford carers gathered on Friday last to honour 'Carer of the Year', Sharron Gorman. Photo includes: Bernie Cox, Mairead Foley, Liam Foley, Maureen Donohoe, Kathleen Mulvihill, Brendan Rogan, Margie Gervasoni, Margaret Kenny, Mary O'Hara, Vera Kiernan, Patricia Neary, Lorraine Halvey, Sharon Gorman (Carer of the Year), Denise Nolan, and Marcella Kiernan. Photo: Shelley Corcoran

This month, Sharron Gorman will celebrate 52 years of marriage to her husband Tom. For over thirty years, Sharron has also been Tom’s carer.

Honoured last week as Longford’s Carer of the Year, Sharron, who lives in Longford town, was grateful but humble, stating that she would rather stay in the background as for her, caring is just her way of life.

Shortly after she was presented with the accolade, Sharron spoke to the Leader, explaining that her day-to-day caring “is not as bad for me as it is for some people”.

“Tom can do a few things for himself,” she continued, “which is great”.

“There’s certain things he can’t manage, of course. To me it’s just an everyday thing you just sort of take on naturally.”

Tom has a complex medical history, and though he has some mobility, he relies on a wheelchair. Though she stated that it’s just ‘normal living’ for them now, Sharron openly admitted that it can be, at times, trying.

“We both get frustrated at times and swear at each other,” she laughed.

As well as caring for her husband, Sharron has cared for many others in her lifetime.

The couple were blessed with six children, though sadly, one passed away tragically. They have 19 grandchildren and a number of great-grandchildren that they enjoy keeping in touch with as much as possible. They have also opened their hearts and home to a number of foster children over the years.

Add to this the fact that Sharron volunteers two days a week at the Enable Ireland shop in Longford town, and it’s difficult to see where Sharron gets time for herself - but she does.

“I come to the group [Longford Carers Association],” she pointed out. “If the group are going somewhere, like we went to the dogs on Sunday, Tom goes with us, because it gets him out as well but it also makes sure that I can go.”

Chairperson of the local association, Sharron was thrilled to talk about the group, affirming; “I love meeting other carers and we all help each other. If somebody is going through a problem as a group we try and help or even sort it if we can.”

Sharron’s fellow carers are clearly equally fond of her, and were only too delighted to congratulate her on the award.

They also presented her with some beautiful gifts. Area Manager with the Carers Association, Denise Nolan, also attended the celebration and complimented Sharron on her patience and strength.

“Sharron is a huge support to her family and she’s fostered loads of children throughout her life and not only that, but within the group, they would always say she’s the mammy of the group, because if they have any problems, they all go to Sharron,” Denise added.

“You’d never really hear her, within the group setting, talking about her own problems, it’s always ‘what can I do to help you?’”

After more than thirty years as a carer, and playing a vital role in the local group, Sharron imparted a bit of advice to other carers, saying, “Do join a support group if you can - well there’s no reason really why a person can’t, because like I say, they can bring the person they’re caring for. If they’re shy they’ll soon get used to us!

“A support group is very important to me and I think it’s important to them,” Sharron explained, later going on to say, “Without the carers group I’d be lost.”