Saturday 17 November 2018

'You know things are dire when you wish your children to pre-decease you' - massive reaction to last night's harrowing Prime Time

Teresa Kinsella. Photo: RTE.
Teresa Kinsella. Photo: RTE.
Geraldine Gittens

Geraldine Gittens

“You know things are dire when you wish your children to pre-decease you.”

So said one viewer on Twitter during last night’s harrowing Prime Time programme Carers in Crisis.

The documentary showed the gruelling effect that caring for a vulnerable and totally dependent loved-one, without respite, can have on a parent or partner. The toll that it takes on both the carer and their dependent loved one.

What was obvious to viewers of last night's extended Prime Time was that carers are beyond the point of tears. They are past the point of getting emotional. They are angry, and they want action.

Teresa Kinsella from Castleknock in Dublin is over 80 years of age. She cares for her daughter Fiona (54) who has an intellectual disability.

Though Teresa is in the early stages of dementia, she is still Fiona's main caregiver. Her own doctors have warned of serious safety concerns if the situation continues.

Teresa's situation has reached crisis point, such that she regretfully told Prime Time that she fears so much for her daughter’s future that she feels the only way out is death.

"I wish that she would die before me, because the thought of dying and leaving her in the world to God knows what, is appalling," she said.

Similarly, Mary McDonnell (80) told Prime Time how she had been caring for her daughter Sinead, who has cerebral palsy, for 54 years. Mary, who herself is elderly and unwell, also told Prime Time that she felt death would be the only solution.

Sadly, Sinead passed away unexpectedly during the making of Prime Time.

Jacinta Walsh from Drogheda is in her 40s and takes care of her 18 year-old autistic son Sam. His behaviour is unpredictable and can be extremely violent, and Jacinta has suffered serious assaults.

Without respite for Sam, she is drained and at breaking point. has asked HSE for comment on respite services for dependent adults.

Here is some of the reaction on Twitter to last night's programme:

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