Clonsilla campaigner’s call to ‘deliver on dementia’

by Sylvia Pownall
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Campaigner Teena Gates has called on election candidates to pledge their support for families living with dementia who are now “in crisis”.

The Clonsilla-based broadcaster revealed the heartbreaking reality of the lack of supports for the 12,498 dementia sufferers in Dublin – and their carers.

Teena – full-time carer to her dad, Terry, who was diagnosed with dementia last year – said serious gaps in essential supports and services have left people struggling.

She revealed: “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 Alzheimer Society of Ireland says access to dementia care in the community depends on where you live and no county in Ireland has an acceptable level of dementia support.

Its 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.

Teena first spoke out last year after a successful online campaign to secure a homecare package for her 94-year-old dad, Terry Martin, who spent two months in Connolly Hospital after a fall.

She wrote an open letter to Health Minister Simon Harris describing how she was unable to secure supports from the HSE, and asking: “How can we do this to our loved ones?”

The campaign was widely shared on social media and Teena revealed she had been “inundated” with messages, some from people who told how their loved ones had died while they waited for packages to get them home.

On Monday, Teena issued one last rallying call to General Election 2020 candidates to support the ASI call for the National Dementia Strategy to be fully implemented, home care for every person who needs it, and Dementia to be included in the Chronic Disease Management Programme.

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