This study examines the economic and psychological costs of care for family carers of people with dementia in Ireland. The analysis is based on an opportunistic survey of 98 carers of people with dementia. The article presents new findings on Irish carers' own perceptions of optimal care provision and the value of the care provided in monetary terms. Family carers in the survey provide an average of just under 12 hours of specified care each day to people with dementia. Many carers refer to the constant nature of care, with very high figures recorded for surveillance and supervision of the person with dementia. Irish caregivers spend considerably longer than they would wish caring for their relatives with dementia, allowing their mental health to suffer in the process. Carers would also like to be paid for the work that they do. Current arrangements for monetary compensation are, however, selective and therefore inadequate to meet the needs of most carers.