Monday 29 May 2017

'Dad didn't want to be in care - now we need help at home'

Gerard Cassidy at home with his daughter Emma Cassidy Photo: Tony Gavin
Gerard Cassidy at home with his daughter Emma Cassidy Photo: Tony Gavin

Mother-of-two Emma Cassidy has taken her dad out of a nursing home in the hope the Government will soon extend the Fair Deal scheme to homes.

Emma's father Gerard (63), who lives in Tallaght, was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease more than seven years ago.

The former taxi driver's condition has deteriorated dramatically since then and he now relies on a wheelchair and round-the-clock care.

Emma, who lives in Rathoath, said her family made the difficult decision to put him into Kiltipper Care Centre in Dublin via the Fair Deal scheme, but during a short stay there Derek missed his home so much that he refused to go back.

"We were visiting him in Kiltipper whenever we could and he would come home during the weekends.

But one day he told me that he didn't want to go back," she said. "It took me a bit by surprise and I was a little angry at the beginning, but to be honest I couldn't blame him - he just wanted to live in his home."

The family's Fair Deal scheme has now been frozen and they have six months to decide whether they want to return him to the nursing home. This is something Emma does not want to do and is hoping the Government will extend the scheme to homes.

The HSE has provided a carer to look after Gerard in his home for 17 hours a week, but his family feel that this isn't enough.

"From the time I started maternity leave with my second baby I was out two or three times a week taking care of dad. Trekking over and back from Rathoath with two babies is difficult, but he's my dad at the end of the day and he's worth it," she said.

Emma added that Brendan Courtney's compelling documentary on his own father made her very upset because of how relatable it was.

"Having the family home valued and getting all of my dad's documentation was very tough and intrusive.

We would also have to pay €1,200 per month if we availed of the Fair Deal scheme. I don't think it's a fair deal at all."

Irish Independent

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