Monday 9 December 2019

No home help for woman (92) who lives alone

Agnes Mullen
Agnes Mullen
Agnes Mullen with her daughters Jacqueline (left) and Marian.
Agnes Mullen with her daughters Jacqueline (left) and Marian.
Agnes and family

Clodagh Sheehy

The two daughters of a 92-year-old grandmother have pleaded with the health services to provide home help for their mother.

Agnes Mullan, who will celebrate her 93rd birthday on October 12 next, lives alone in the Dublin family home at Oranmore Road, Ballyfermot in West Dublin.

Her daughter Marian Lawrence told the Herald: “She’s still healthy thank God, other than the normal things at her age, but she needs a little bit of help. Her memory is not great and she gets a little bit confused.”

Marian explains that herself and her sister, Jacqueline Rafferty, look after her mother with the help of a brother-in-law and a very good neighbour.

“We do her housework and washing and she potters around. A neighbour two doors up takes her to collect her pension or to Mass if she wants to go. Without him we would be lost.

“We sort out her tablets and take her at weekends. We’re there most days but need someone to come in for an hour on a Monday and a Tuesday. That’s all we’re asking.”

Agnes and family
Agnes and family

Marian says the first public health nurse who assessed her mother three years ago recommended home help.

“But five months later we had heard nothing and then they said they had lost the notes.

“They sent out a second public health nurse, who made the same recommendation, and now a third one came out last week,” she adds.

“The home help people say they have no money. They’ve run out of funding and there’s a big long list waiting for services,” says Marian.

Agnes Mullen
Agnes Mullen

She confesses the family is completely frustrated. “We’ve been trying for three years to get help.

“How old do you have to be before you can get help. If my mother was in a nursing home it would be costing the state thousands of euro.”

She points out: “We’ve never asked for anything for her and she wouldn’t either, she’s so independent, but she really needs somebody now.

“We just want her to have her independence as long as she can. It’s very important to her.”

Marian stresses at her mother’s age there is no point in being on a long waiting list but “unfortunately the quieter you are, they just ignore you”.

She has pledged this time: “I am going to shout it. I am just determined to get her the help she needs.”

The HSE said this week it was providing an extra €5m for social care packages, which inlcude home care packages for elderly people to allow them stay in their own homes.

The money, however, is targetted at elderly patients in hospital and designed to speed up their discharge.

The announcement was made in the wake of a report by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation which showed that the numbers of patients on hospital trolleys had increased by 19pc nationwide last month.

The HSE responded saying it was “acutely aware of the difficulties being experienced by certain hospitals” and this money could be used “to release badly needed bed capacity”.

csheehy@herald.ie

Irish Independent

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