Advocating for Older People & People with Illness

To Live Until You Die – Dr Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Filmed in 1983, Dr. Kubler-Ross discusses end of life issues including forgiveness and the concept of unconditional love.

Many of us have family members who are suffering from mental or physical ill health or have an intellectual disability or learning difference. It is very sad when people are seeking help for their loved ones and meet obstacles and waiting lists. As a nurse I would like people to be cared for in an empathetic and timely manner. Services need to be adequately resourced so that this happens. It is hard enough to accept that a loved one has an illness or disability without having to fight tooth and nail for treatment.

Suicide in Kerry is 70% above national average

27 people died by suicide in the county during 2012, which equates to four times the amount of people who died on Kerry roads

Suicide hit an all time high in Kerry where the epidemic is 70% above the national average.

The figures, published by the Central Statistics Office this week, showed that 23 men and 4 women took their own lives. The toll is an increase on the 2011 statistic and is more than double the figure for 2008.

148 men and 148 women presented themselves to emergency departments in Kerry after deliberate self-harm in 2011.

The coroner for Kerry South, Terence Casey has been outspoken when it comes to dealing with the epidemic. Last month Casey called for a national campaign to tackle suicide in a similar approach taken by the Road Safety Authority.

Over €30million was spent on road safety awareness in 2011. The figure for suicide prevention was just €3million. In that same year, 186 people died on Irish roads, while there were 525 suicides.

“Voluntary bodies and charities are doing great work in relation to suicide but they need a lot more help from the state,” said Mr Casey.

Mr. Casey said the late Donal Walsh who died from terminal cancer did more to prevent suicide amongst his peers than all of the politicians together. He is pleading with young people to think twice “before they leave such grief behind.”

“It is a crying shame that not more money is being put in to prevent suicide.”

In April, five out of the six inquests that were heard at the coroner’s Killarney quarterly court returned verdicts of suicide. All of the deceased were males, two of these aged 16, one 21, one 22 and one aged 30.

In the two previous quarterly court sittings, seven out of the eight deaths were by suicide.

 Published 09/01/2014 | 07:21

Irish independent

Cuts to grants to hit elderly and disabled

New rules drawn up by the Department of the Environment will reduce the amount paid in grants to the elderly and disabled for work on their homes.

The new rules will also make it harder for many people to qualify for the home improvement grants – which help them to buy things like stairlifts and ramps or renovate their homes.

The department is also considering the introduction of a “claw-back” – where the homeowner will have to repay the State if they sell their house.

Those receiving grants over €15,000 may be forced to repay the entire amount on a “sliding scale” over five years if they sell their house.

The raft of changes came into effect on January 1.

Elderly and disabled people will see cuts of more than 40 per cent to certain payments.

There will also be significant reductions in thresholds and changes to eligibility rules that will see some elderly people lose their grants entirely.

In a new move, officials will assess the incomes of the entire family before determining how much a person will get in grants.

Minister Jan O’Sullivan told RTE’s Morning Ireland today that the government’s allocation for the grants have been increased from €35million last year to €38million this year.

“There have always been a very large number of people applying for the grant and that’s one of the reasons for doing the review, to make sure that the money goes to those who most need it.”

The new changes will apply to new applicants for the grants. There will be a reduction to the maximum grant in the older person’s grant, the Minister said.

She said the maximum grant for people with disability remains at €30,000. The older person’s grant has been reduced from €10,000 to €8,000.

The Minister said the average amount given to older people around the country was €5,000, and this was the reason why the grant was reduced.

She stressed that older people under 66 years will still be able to apply for grants under the mobility aid grants and the disability grants.

If a person’s income is less than €30,000 per year, they will be asked to make a five per cent contribution, Minister O’Sullivan said.

And if an income is €60,000, the person will be asked to make a 30 per cent contribution.

Eamon Timmins, Head of Advocacy at Age Action Ireland said the cuts to the grants will affect three schemes – the home adaptation grant for disabled people, the housing adaptation grant for the elderly, and mobility aid grant scheme.

He said the cuts will affect people who are terminally ill, and people who are “hanging in there trying not to go to hospital or to a nursing home” – some of “the most vulnerable people in society”.

He said the government has “moved the goalposts” without officially announcing the changes.

The age category has been moved from 60 up to 66 years, and even the lowest wage category will have to pay some contribution to the cost of the works on their homes.

He said “in the end some of the poorest people may lose out”.

 

People like my brother bear brunt of ‘shameful’ cuts – councillor

PUBLISHED 30/11/2015 | 02:30

Fiona O’Loughlin, with her brother Cathal, mother Mary (right), and Fianna Fáil’s Mary O’Rourke (left) at a function to promote UN Day for People with Disabilities on Thursday1
Fiona O’Loughlin, with her brother Cathal, mother Mary (right), and Fianna Fáil’s Mary O’Rourke (left) at a function to promote UN Day for People with Disabilities on Thursday

A local councillor whose brother has Down Syndrome has delivered a stinging, personalised condemnation of cuts to handicapped support services.

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Cllr Fiona O’Loughlin, a Dáil candidate in Kildare South and long-time worker for the Special Olympics, was speaking ahead of the United Nations day for supporting people with special needs, on Thursday.

The UN day aims to promote the human dignity of special needs and disabled people while promoting their inclusion at every level of society.

Ms O’Loughlin, a former primary school teacher based in Newbridge, Co Kildare, is the eldest of 11 children. She was aged 11 when her brother Cathal was born with Down Syndrome. She recalls that from the outset he was accepted as a member of their large and extended family and has taken part in all activities ever since.

“Cathal is now better known in some parts of Kildare than I am, and he is my most loyal supporter,” she said.

Cllr O’Loughlin, who volunteered for the Special Olympics for many years, left teaching to work full-time for the organisation in 2000. She has been a member of Kildare County Council since 1999, was Mayor of Kildare this past year, and is standing for Fianna Fáil in the Dáil election in three-seat Kildare South.

Ms O’Loughlin said her own direct experience had taught her that the brunt of efforts to integrate people with special needs fell on family members.

She said the harsh cuts to family supports for special needs had seriously disrupted this integration effort.

“Cuts in home-care services have been a bitter blow in recent years and further cuts to the Scheme to Support National Organisations in the Community and Voluntary Sector (SSNO) managed by the Department of the Environment have been detrimental,” she said.

“The Government cannot preach access and inclusion for all, while cutting funding to many frontline services provided by voluntary organisations, groups who have provided essential support services, counselling and carer supports to date,” she added.

Cllr O’Loughlin said United Nations International Day of Persons with Disability emphasised “access and empowerment of people of all abilities”. It aims to mobilise support for the dignity, rights and well-being of people with disabilities.

“Due to cuts in support services in recent years, the Fine Gael/Labour Government are neither aware of, nor implementing the United Nations’ grand vision,” she concluded.

Irish Independent

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