Carole Beattie, Alzheimer Branch, Cavan
Carole’s husband had Alzheimer’s for 8 years and she cared for him and her 90 year old mother whilst dealing with breast cancer. She sought local support and discovered that Cavan did not have an Alzheimer’s Branch or Support Group. She founded a Support Group and then went on to start a local Branch. Since then she has started a monthly Forget-me-not Café where people with Alzheimer’s and their loved ones can share a safe and relaxed environment and chat with others going through the same journey. She is also helping to raise funds to keep a Day Service going two days per week. Her Committee have also put a lovely memorial walk in a local park with mementoes of the past sprinkled between the flower beds. She also gives talks in schools and to primary care services.
Truly there would not be many services for people with Alzheimer’s in Cavan without her dedication. She takes absolutely no expenses or money of any kind and is completely passionate about her wish to help people.
Keith Hyland, NCBI, Dublin
Keith works in technology and has a busy work and family life. There is a person in his workplace who is blind and he wanted to add something or do more, so he applied to volunteer with NCBI in a light IT software/accessibility role.
He has taken pieces of equipment home with him from someone’s house so he can investigate alternatives or explore the accessible settings to see can they be adapted for the person and their particular sign limitations. He has been asked to visit someone for a once off query, to which he has obliged as always, and more often than not it turns into a regular arrangement each week for a period, because the need evolved and the relationship worked. He meets the individual at their level and works with that. He doesn’t teach or preach when he works with them. He is comfortable asking about what sight they have available, what they can or cannot do, what helps and what doesn’t. He connects with the person. He has suggested alternative and creative solutions to people who are trying to find a way to use technology with their sight loss.
Mae Murphy, Drumkill Day Centre, Monaghan
Mae manages the Drumkill Day Care Centre in Threemilehouse on a voluntary basis. It involves managing staff and volunteers, dealing with finances, arranging catering, transport, personal care, chiropody, hairdressing and laundry. A number of service users have severe disability and are wheelchair-bound older people using the service. She founded her local SVP group in 1985 and has been volunteering ever since. She founded the Drumkill Day-care Centre in 1993 and expanded its services to care for people with disability, organising support group meetings, Alzheimer cafe and fundraising events. She also founded Corcaghan Community alert group in 1996.
She founded the centre when her work as a public health nurse showed her how many older people were living alone in isolated rural areas with little opportunity to leave the house. Some of them had dementia. She secured premises from the local parish and started the Day Care Service. It now caters for people with dementia who are living at home, giving them social contact and providing respite to their family carers. It provides an opportunity to socialise with people of their own age group. The Centre is open four days a week and people travel from all over the county of Monaghan to attend. It helps people keep active and involved in their community allowing them to remain in their own home for as long as possible and prevents early admission to residential care.