'You know things are dire when you wish your children to pre-decease you' - massive reaction to last night's harrowing Prime Time
“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.
Jacinta talks about the reality of caring for her severely autistic and occasionally violent adult son. With absolutely no prospect of a break.— RTÉ Prime Time (@RTE_PrimeTime) December 5, 2017
Prime Time - Carers in Crisis, tonight, 9.35pm pic.twitter.com/vpWI5L1Gfp
Independent.ie has asked HSE for comment on respite services for dependent adults.
Here is some of the reaction on Twitter to last night's programme:
#rtept #carersincrisis unless we are in the situation with our own loved ones none of us know what its like to be a dedicated carer. Unconditional love. They need additional govt assistance NOW....... for safe & secure level of care— Anne Rabbitte TD (@AnneRabbitte) December 5, 2017
"Every single day I pray that Sinead will be taken before me."— Maura Shields (@maurayeah) December 5, 2017
Watching #carersincrisis on #RTEpt and my heart is breaking. Hopefully this will shine a spotlight on the reality for carers and those they care for in Ireland today.
We can't wait until parents die to support carers and people with disabilities to live their lives #CarersinCrisis— Suzy Byrne (@suzybie) December 5, 2017
The mother of a child for whom she has been caring for over 50 years:— Ciara Plunkett (@PlunkettCiara) December 5, 2017
"I wish she would die before me, because the thought of leaving her in the world to God knows what, is appalling"#CarersInCrisis#RTEpt
My mam is a full-time carer for my dad and there's literally no support for her from the HSE. Even when dad goes into hospital, we help with food / making him comfortable because nurses are so underresourced. Disgraceful. #rtept #carersincrisis— Grace McGettigan (@GraceMcGettigan) December 5, 2017
From the cradle to the grave why don't we value carers in this country? #CarersinCrisis— June Shannon (@juneshannon) December 5, 2017
The state doesn’t want to support people with disabilities or their carers. Everything is a battle, a fight. It doesn’t need to be this way. It shouldn’t be this hard. #carersincrisis #RTEPrimetime #RTEPT— Carly Bailey (@CarlyBee25) December 5, 2017
Very hard to watch #CarersinCrisis #rtept harder to believe it's reality for a lot of families across Ireland all those carers are heros and deserve more than just praise a bit of help from the top wouldn't go astray— Rob Cullen (@robcullen79) December 5, 2017
"I'm approaching pension age. I live with my own immortality every day. Why can't I be allowed to live a little?" - the horrific reality of non-existent support for carers in Ireland #rtept #carersincrisis #respite— Sharon Leavy (@SharonLeavy1) December 5, 2017