Thursday 19 October 2017

The Carer: 'I dread the budget every year - we can't take any more cutbacks'

Since the ‘Age of Austerity’ began, society’s most vulnerable have been hit hardest.

Today, Independent.ie spoke to mum-of-one Heather Hogan.

Heather is mother of teenager David (16).

Shortly after his birth, David was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

At the age of two, he was diagnosed with autism. In recent years, he has lost the sight in his left eye, with his remaining sight fading.

David needs care around the clock.

"But he's the most remarkable man I've ever met - and there's not a day goes by that he doesn't put a smile on my face," Heather says.

"This time every year in our lives, we start worrying about what this year's budget is going to hold.

"What impact it's going to have on our lives

"Already in the last few years, it's had a great impact on my life and my son's life.

"We have lost so much in regards what other people take for granted. We dont' have the luxury of having ready made babysitters take care of our children when we're tired and need a break.

"We're relying on services to take our children just to give us parents a much needed break, and a well-deserved break just to sleep.

"My son needs 24 hour care. I can't just up and run to the shop if I forget to buy the milk. It's a 20 minute ordeal just to get him ready to walk out the hall door.

"We can't take to the streets and protest. It's not practical to walk a child from O'Connell Street to the Dail in a wheelchair.

"The tears do flow sometimes at night when you feel helpless and lonely and this is when we need people to become more aware and to provide services to people so that they can have a tiny bit of life."

Her son – who is the apple of his mother’s eye – is a student in St Michael’s House.

Heather is thankful for the support her son receives there, and says his progress has been amazing.

But Heather and David have experienced brutal cutbacks in recent budgets – the one that has hurt the most is the cut to respite care, which has had a profound effect on their lives.

Looking ahead, Heather says her son will be entering ‘Adult Services’ when he turns 18, which is less than two years away.

“I don’t know what the future will hold for my son if these cutbacks continue,” she said.

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