Almost 200,000 people in Ireland dedicate their lives to caring for loved ones.

Census 2016 recorded a 35% increase in the number of carers who are aged 85 and over.

Carers provide over 6.5 million hours of care per week.

On average, they care for their loved ones for almost the equivalent of a full 40-hour working week.

But almost 9% provide full-time 24-hour unpaid care, with no real break.

RTÉ's Prime Time met some of those carers and those being cared for.

Jack Brennan, who is almost 85 year old, cares for his wife Bernie, who has Alzheimers, at their home in Roscommon.

Mr Brennan gets 2.5 hours a day home care for his wife to get her up, washed, dressed, fed, and back to bed in the evening.

On Fridays, he gets an extra two hours during which time he has to do the week's shopping and household errands.

He said: "I wouldn't put her in a home. I love her too much.

"If she went into a home it would break my heart."

Jacinta Walsh from Drogheda, 51, cares for her 18 year-old son Sam O'Carroll.

Sam has autism and also a number of health conditions. His behaviour is unpredictable and can be extremely violent, and Ms Walsh has suffered serious assaults.

Since turning 18 in July, there is no respite care available for Sam or his family.