TAOISEACH SHOULD INTERVENE?Independent councillor, Michael Kilcoyne
Outcry as Castlebar Alzheimers care centre faces closure
The daughter of an elderly Castlebar man suffering from dementia has expressed her anguish at the news that a Castlebar day care centre he attends is facing closure.
Denise Glendon’s 86-year-old father is a user of the Alzheimer Society of Ireland run Castlebar Day Care Centre. Its future is under threat due to a funding shortfall.
“My father is 86-years-old, he has worked hard all his life and paid his taxes. He has done everything right all along and I feel that now, in his time of need, he is entitled to this service. It’s so upsetting,” Ms Glendon told The Mayo News.
The centre is facing closure due to a shortfall in funds from the Alzheimer Society of Ireland while attempts to gain additional funds from the HSE to bridge the deficit were unsuccessful. Unless a fresh funding source is found, the centre is expected to close. The centre is open three days a week from 10am to 3pm and has ten users. The Mayo News understands it costs in the region of €50,000 annually to run.
“My father lives at home with my mother and the centre is a great support for us. It’s a great outlet for him and does so much. He is stimulated with conversation and talking about the olden times. Volunteers come in and play music and cards with them and the staff are just fantastic, every one of them. Dad would go there seven days a week if he could,” said Denise Glendon.
Ms Glendon said it is ‘crazy’ that such centres are facing closure at a time when instances of Alzheimers in Irish people are rising and when a national strategy on dementia calls for more community-based centres like this one. She called on Taoiseach Enda Kenny to intervene. “It’s not pulling away these services we should be doing, it’s adding to them. The HSE are wasting money in so many areas and this is a vital service and not an expensive one. Enda Kenny has been supported by the people of Castlebar for so long and now is his time to do something for people in the most need. He has to do something about it,” she said.
“Dementia can be such an awful disease. It can be so harrowing. Dad leaves this centre in good form every day, it’s fantastic for us to see. I don’t know what we would do without it,” she added.
Cllr Michael Kilcoyne (Ind) called for the Taoiseach to intervene at last Thursday’s meeting of the Castlebar Municipal District of Mayo County Council.
“I’m calling on the Taoiseach to direct the HSE to deal with it. It’s a wonderful facility and it is a total disgrace that it is facing closure,” he said.
Cllr Therese Ruane (SF) said the prospect of closure ‘flies in the face’ of government policy on dementia care.
“The day care centres in Castlebar and Foxford do trojan work. They provide a wonderful service for people with dementia and when you consider the national dementia strategy has just been launched and calls for community friendly daycare centres and to keep people at home and not have to go to nursing homes unnecessarily, this flies in the face of that. The HSE need to allocate funding to ensure centres like this can continue to provide the wonderful service that they do throughout the country,” she said.
A nurse/manager and three care assistants work at the centre. The Mayo News understands they will be reassigned if the centre closes. The Alzheimer Society of Ireland has a similar centre in Foxford but as that is at full capacity, amalgamation is not expected to be an option.