Teena Gates with her father, Terry
Journalist and broadcaster Teena Gates has revealed that socialising and working outside the home is now practically impossible for full-time family carers like her due to the dementia care crisis. It is a daily reality for the 790 people living with dementia and their struggling families who are fighting to access essential supports and services in Offaly.
Yet despite this, in the constituency of Laois-Offaly, only three candidates have signed the pledge to deliver on dementia - Barry Cowen (FF, Laois-Offaly); Brian Stanley (SF, Laois-Offaly); and Marcella Corcoran Kennedy (FG, Laois-Offaly).
Teena, who is from Dublin and is a full-time carer for her elderly father, Terry, who was diagnosed with dementia last year, has issued one last rallying call to General Election 2020 candidates to support The Alzheimer Society of Ireland (ASI) who are calling on all candidates to pledge their support to Deliver on Dementia and ensure dementia is in the next Programme for Government.
Teena Gates said: “I used to think I knew what being a carer was. I used to think I knew what 24/7 care meant. I didn’t have a clue. It means you never go to the toilet on your own again. It means you never close the door when you shower. It means you can’t meet a friend for coffee without a complicated cover system.
"It means working outside the home is practically impossible. Yet all of these things are possible with support. So many of us just need a little help, to help us love and care for the ones we love and care for.”
The ASI knows only too well that access to dementia care in the community depends on where you live and no county in Ireland has an acceptable level of dementia support.
The ASI’s General Election 2020 campaign ‘Deliver on Dementia – Time to End the Crisis’ aims to ensure that dementia is included in the new Programme for Government so people with dementia and their families can get the support that they need.
All candidates must pledge to Deliver on Dementia in the next Programme for Government to ensure the National Dementia Strategy is fully implemented; Homecare for everybody; Dementia is in the Chronic Disease Management Programme.
Patricia Maguire, from Wexford who helps to care for her Dad who has dementia, said:
“My hope for the next Government is to give back to the people like my Dad who contributed so much to our society as my mam has no support from the Government. My Mam is living in Wexford where there is no home care support for her. My Mam has her own health issues as a 70-year-old woman may have and her mental health and physical health is being impacted due to the lack of support. My parents both deserve better from this country and should be cared for in a meaningful way. We want our dad to receive the care that he deserves.”