Kerry O’Sullivan – Virtual Alzheimer’s Tea Day
“Although the current situation in the world is all rather scary and bleak, we can create hope and a sense of togetherness on Thursday, May 7th by simply having a cuppa, communicating with family and friends online and making a donation to The Alzheimer Society of Ireland.”
Kerry O’Sullivan is from Cahersiveen in Co Kerry and is a MSc Speech and Language Therapy student in Edinburgh has written this touching piece about encouraging young people involved in our upcoming Virtual Alzheimer’s Tea Day and to spread awareness of dementia with a younger population.
Impact of dementia
It is so great to see people supporting a wide range of charities during this current global pandemic. A charity that has been close to my own heart for the past number of years is The Alzheimer Society of Ireland.
On Thursday, May 7th 2020, I plan on taking some time to host a virtual Tea Day with my family members. I am looking forward to catching up with my brother in New York via Skype over a cuppa and a sweet treat, all while remembering the 55,000 people in Ireland who currently have dementia in Ireland.
As a 23-year-old, people often ask why a person of my age has such a strong interest and passion for creating dementia awareness and raising much needed funds for The Alzheimer Society of Ireland.
During my time with the UCC Alzheimer’s Society – the first society in any Irish University or Third Level Institution that represents Alzheimer’s Disease/Dementia as a whole and aims to create Dementia awareness amongst the millennial generation –
I remember being told that a person of my age should not care about dementia, as it is a condition that only affects older people.
This, however, is not the case.
Truth be told, I am one of the 500,000 people in Ireland who has personally been impacted by dementia. My auntie Debby, who was like a second mother to me, unfortunately passed away from Early-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease in 2016 after a 10-year battle.
She was 60 years old and she is missed greatly. She was an all rounder of a woman – intelligent, kind, caring, determined and strong. Most importantly, she was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, sister, auntie and friend.
She was also young.
This shows that dementia is not a normal part of the ageing process nor is it something that only occurs in older people. The effects of dementia are far and wide – not only affecting the person who has been given the diagnosis, but also personally impacting their family, friends and carers.
I am sure that there are other young people across the country that have also felt the effects of dementia. If not, you are likely to know someone who has dementia or someone who has been affected by this condition. I know the difference the young people of Ireland can make when we pull together.
Over the past number of weeks, I have seen so many people doing different challenges to raise money for different charities – whether it is a 5k walk/run challenge or drinking a raw egg!
With the endless amount of ways to communicate virtually nowadays, it is my hope that young people across the country will take some time out on Thursday May 7th to support The Alzheimer Society of Ireland.
This time can be rather confusing and isolating for us all, but in particularly those who have dementia. Imagine how frustrated you would feel if you did not understand why you were no longer having friends around or why those around you were suddenly wearing a mask.
People with dementia and their carers are now also having to come to terms with the closure of day centres, social clubs and Alzheimer’s Cafes across the country.
Although the current situation in the world is all rather scary and bleak, we can create hope and a sense of togetherness on Thursday, May 7th by simply having a cuppa, communicating with family and friends online and making a donation to the Alzheimer Society of Ireland.
There are so many ways to connect virtually nowadays – whether it is through Skype, Facetime, Zoom or a simple telephone call.
Tea Day is the Alzheimer Society of Ireland’s biggest fundraiser and they need your support now more than ever.
So c’mon, what are you waiting for?
Throw on the kettle, pick up the phone and show those who have dementia and their carers that we are in this together and that we will come out of this difficult time together.
Please register on teaday.ie today!
Kerry O’Sullivan is a student in Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh and was a founding member of the UCC Alzheimer’s Society – the first society in any Irish University or Third Level Institution that represents Alzheimer’s Disease/Dementia as a whole and aims to create Dementia awareness amongst the millennial generation