Thursday 20 September 2018

'I love her too much to put her in a home' - devoted husband (84) who suffered stroke on struggling to care for his wife

Jack Brennan (84) cared for his wife for 17 years
Jack Brennan (84) cared for his wife for 17 years
Kathy Armstrong

Kathy Armstrong

An elderly man (84) has told how he receives just two-and-a-half hours help per day to care for his wife, who has Alzheimer's Disease.

Jack Brennan admits he struggles as his beloved wife Bernie cannot perform even the most basic of tasks for herself but he said that the thought of not being able to care for her breaks his heart.

Devoted Jack, who lives in Frenchpark, Co Roscommon, is one of the carers who will be featured on RTE Prime Time tonight.

He told host Miriam O'Callaghan: "This is my beautiful Bernie, 17 years she's been in this state.

"I've been up since 7 o'clock this morning and got most of the work done: I got her changed and I got her washed, and we are now waiting for the carer to come and get her up and get her breakfast."

At the time of filming, Jack cared for Bernie almost 24 hours per day and said he received an extra two hours of home help on Friday so he could do their shopping and household errands.

Jack and Bernie, pictured on their wedding day
Jack and Bernie, pictured on their wedding day

He said that he would love to have more help in caring for his wife.

Jack said: "If the HSE could come and take over the day running of the clinic - as we call it, they all call it Jack's clinic - that would make it an awful lot easier for me and I'd do the night.

"Because the night sometimes is worse than the day."

Jack said that despite how hard the work is, he couldn't bear the thought of having Bernie cared for in a nursing home.

He said: "I wouldn't put her in a home. I love her too much to put her in a home.

"If she went into a home it'd break my heart, and that's it.

"I've got to keep her beside me and that's it, because I love her, simple, I just love the woman."

Sadly, Jack has since suffered a minor stroke and Bernie is now being cared for in a nursing home.

Jack is one of almost 200,000 people who are dedicated to caring for a loved one in Ireland.

According to Census 2016, the number of carers aged 85 and over has soared by 35 per cent.

Carers provide over 6.5 million hours of care per week, with the average carer minding their loved ones for nearly the equivalent of a 40-hour working week.

Almost 9pc of carers provide 24-hour unpaid care with no significant break.

RTÉ Prime Time – Carers in Crisis airs tonight at 9.35pm on RTE One

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