"I am still part of the community that I have known for over 50 years. I am still me; I am still Brian" - Brian Doyle
"My name is Brian and I am 87 years of age. I was diagnosed with dementia in 2014 and I am living at home in Dublin. I know that I am extremely lucky that I am able to continue to live in my own home in a wonderful community in Dublin. The reasons for the importance of this in my life are many and varied.
Living in my own home allows me some independence: Eating what and when I like; getting up or staying in bed as I wish; accepting or postponing contact with friends; getting medical care as needed (resident nurse or carer when required); using local transportation (bus stop outside the house and dependable local taxi service); my friends knowing where I am; and being able to entertain in my own home.
My greatest fear is loneliness. Staying in my own home and remaining a part of the community with my neighbours and my friends reassures me that, in many ways, nothing has changed and I am not alone. I am still part of the community that I have known for over 50 years. I am still me; I am still Brian."
Read Brian's full story here.
"The care and kindness of the community was invaluable to the whole family" - Martin Dunn
"Brigid and I were married for 43 years when she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in September 2009. From 1970 onwards, we raised our four children here in Ireland, ran a manufacturing business and paid our taxes (as our children do today).
It took me until April 2011 to shut down business and become Brigid’s carer on a full-time, 24/7 basis. Caring for Brigid got unbearably difficult from 2011 to 2015 with no help from anyone except, of course, from the children and the community we lived in.
Our community became aware of our situation only by my panic over her walking out the front door and forgetting where or who she was. However, once alerted to Brigid’s condition, the care and kindness of the community was invaluable to the whole family."
Read Martin's full story here.
"For me staying at home is very important. My family are all unbelievable and they mean the world to me." - Seamus Cunningham
"For me staying at home is very important. I’ve got 6 sons, 1 daughter, 13 grandchildren and two great grandchildren. My family are all unbelievable and they mean the world to me. There is always one of them here every day, dropping by and saying hello.
My name is Seamus and I’m 79. 5 years ago I was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. This was a life changing diagnosis but I quickly made the decision that to help us live better with it, I needed to tell people, so that’s what I did. I told everyone my family, my neighbours and the people that I surrounded myself with.
My family are such a huge support to me. We often go to our house in Wexford and the family will join us down there. Recently I had to give up driving, now when we need to go somewhere, we send out a message to family and within minutes we have multiple offers and we get to choose who we’d like to take us there!! My daughter Denise helps me to keep my medication in order and ensure that I’m taking the correct ones at the right times, she’s like my back up."
Read Seamus' full story here.
"Dad's love for "home" was something he never lost." - Rachel McMahon
“My father, Tony, was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s when I was 19 years of age. After a year of strange and unusual behaviour a diagnosis came through and gave us some semblance of relief. However, with this diagnosis also came an inevitable feeling of fear of the unknown which my father, and our family, had to endure for the next seven and a half years.
When Dad was 57 we began to notice some odd things about his behaviour. He would struggle to get dressed; often putting his jumper on backwards. He also wasn't showering as he would every morning; he stuffed bills in the drawer because he confessed he didn't know what to do with them; and he would run red lights while driving – he once drove down the wrong side of a busy road and failed to see the carnage we narrowly avoided.
In addition to this, he often seemed unnecessarily stressed and anxious, his sentences had no end as he would trail off. For a man as articulate as he was, this was evidently very difficult for him to understand. When I was in his company for a while, I would pick up on some strange behaviour, unfamiliar and unnerving."
Read Rachel's full story here.
"It gave me great comfort that I could look after her at home with great support from all our neighbours and the wider local community." - Martin McDonnell
"My name is Martin and I live in a very supportive community in Co Sligo. My mother, Annie, was the best friend that I ever had. I really looked up to her and she always taught me to be good to people and to never take advantage of them.
Around 1999, my mother started to show signs of dementia and this was followed with a diagnosis from the doctor. I promised my mother that I would always look after her and care for her at home. We got on with life as best we could.
When my mother was diagnosed with dementia, it was very hard to cope and it was a struggle at times – at that time I knew nothing about dementia and I have no brothers or sisters, so I had to do all of the caring on my own."
Read Martin's full story here.
"It is my intention to do everything in my power to enjoy each precious moment I have left." - Helen Rochford Brennan
"The day I was diagnosed with Younger Onset Alzheimer’s was one of my darkest and I will never forget that lonely, bleak drive home from the doctor’s office. I had a wonderful life, it was full of love and then it became filled with the deepest sadness as life’s adventure came to an abrupt and unexpected halt.
But then I realised I needed to fight. I needed to fight hard for people with dementia to be afforded the dignity of living well in their own homes. I have been a community activist for as long as I can remember, and now I am fighting for my own rights, and for the rights of everybody with this horrendous condition.
Article 19 of the UN Convention of the Rights of People with Disabilities enshrines the right of people with disabilities to live in the community. Rights for all people with disabilities are very hard to come by in Ireland. On March 30th 2017 Ireland marked the unfortunate 10-year anniversary of signing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) without ratifying it. Ireland’s failure to bring the provisions of the UNCRPD into Irish law clearly shows that people with disabilities have not been a priority for successive Governments. Ireland will now be the last country in the European Union to ratify this important international agreement, Ireland clearly doesn’t think rights for people with disabilities are important enough."
Read Helen's full story here.
"The Alzheimer Society provides a fantastic and much needed service and is a great comfort to those caring for family members with Dementia/Alzheimer’s at home." - Terry O'Loughlin
"Mam goes to Heskin Court, The Alzheimer’s Day Centre in Dublin 4 on a Wednesday and Thursday every week. It is a great support and she loves going there. In fact she often asks to go at the weekend!
It means I can go to work on Wednesday with peace of mind knowing she is well cared for. On Thursday it gives me time to go shopping, to the hairdressers or other things I need to do. Sometimes I even get to go for a coffee with a friend!
She also gets home care hours on a Tuesday morning which is another day I work. This is also a great help as the carer is always reliable and is very good with Mam especially first thing in the morning when she is most confused."
Read Terry's full story here.