Growing Old in Today's Ireland

Colleen is a widow, a woman in her 90's who like so many of her age lives alone. Her house is at the end of a long country lane about a mile from what could be called a main country road.
The lane itself is narrow, hilly, pitted with potholes and overgrown with briars. A raised central green grass strip runs the length of the lane making access for cars difficult at any time of year but even more difficult in the snows and frosts of winter. 
Coleen's husband Owen died some years ago and as Colleen would say with pride; “Owen, at the time of his death, was the oldest man in the parish of Riverstown.” 
Owen was a kind man. He and Colleen married late in life and in a way that's another story. 
I have known Colleen now for some 31 years and over many of these years have had the pleasure of visiting her from time to time for a chat. 
I suppose what makes Colleen’s life different from that of many elderly, even those living in our towns and cities, is that she lives in a caring community. A community where over the years various "state schemes" have been constructed in a manner that for me, makes Riverstown and indeed the wider surrounding countryside, a place apart. 
In recent years Colleen has been hospitalised on several occasions, nothing life threatening but enough to require periods in hospital and follow up respite in a nursing home setting. 
In spite of this, her determination and wish to return to her own home at the end of such hospital stays has been such that to date, thanks to the love and care of her community, she has achieved her wish.  
Each time the challenge to return home has grown and each time the support that she needs to do so has been co-ordinated and ramped up by a team of people at her local community health centre, lead by a quite extraordinary lady, Sister Elizabeth.
Early this year after a period of 8 weeks in hospital and two weeks convalescing in a nursing home Colleen returned home in a frail state. She was absolutely delighted, but behind it all terrified that she would not manage or that a fall would see her leave her home for ever more. 
Once more the Riverstown community stepped in. A plan was put in place. Colleen was visited and helped to rise and dress in the morning, at lunch time she received meals on wheels and a visitor that helped her with her meal, in the evening another visit resulted in her tea being prepared for her and finally around 9pm the last visit of the day ensured she was safely in bed.
As the weeks and months passed Colleen’s health improved and while she was confined to the chair for most of the day, her strength returned. 
All through this time, and indeed during all my years visiting Colleen, what makes her special for me is her acceptance of life and all it throws at her while at the same time retaining that inner strength to prevail.  
Thanks to her "visitors" Colleen knows everything that goes on in the community she lives in. She can tell you the ins and outs of family relationships going back several generations. 
Recently Colleen unfortunately fell once more. Her panic button ensured however that the Gardai in Ballymoate responded promptly and within hours Colleen had been taken to hospital where X-ray's confirmed a broken shoulder blade.
As I write Colleen is still in hospital, unsure of what comes next. Her shoulder will take weeks to heal making it impossible to use her walking aid. No walking aid, no possibility of returning home. It’s easy to see where her mind is at and how, in spite of her positive attitude, the future is full of darkness and fear.
Today as I travelled to work I listened to the proposed H.S.E cut backs in the Home Help Service and while there is much that needs effective restructuring and management change in this service, I couldn't help but feel our society, as manifested by current government policy, is simply cruel. 
 No talk of working smarter or getting better value  by reaching into the heart of all those people, be they retired or unemployed,  that are true carers at heart. Kind people who would love to work in a restructured, cost effective and meaningful service, if for no other reason than they will someday need this support themselves.  
The choices that face Colleen are few; she is now in a system where options are dictated by budgets and cutbacks. A system where her dignity and wishes sadly account for little.
Is it acceptable?  Can it be justified even allowing for our economic mess that Colleen and her generation are left lonely, depressed and in such fear as to their future?
Surely communities, be they urban or rural, can find innovative and, dare I say it in the current climate, cost effective ways to ensure our elderly are treated with empathy, generosity, dignity and respect as they grow frail.

Or are we going to sit back and allow the heart to be torn out of who we are as a people? 
Take Care,


Comments (60)

  • Malcolm

    Nov 24, 2011 at 10:47 AM

    Hi I found your post this morning and am adding a link to our Facebook page ALONE-Ireland. It is in the individual stories that the cruelty of the cuts is most apparent. Thank you!

  • lxpvfks

    Jan 23, 2014 at 03:18 PM - Unapproved

    classic chanel bag cheap Toronto Maple Leafs jerseys mulberry outlet york tory burch shoes sale Toronto has joined Vancouver and Montreal among the top five cities in North America when it comes to traffic delays according to a traffic congestion survey from GPS firm TomTom. There were a total of 26 cities surveyed, with Toronto coming in fifth, while Vancouver was second only to Los Angeles

    cheap youth nba basketball jerseys cheap chanel flap bag . taxedany folks say that Melissa is genetically pre disposed to success with short sales. In fact, last year she and her staff obtained over 500 short sale approval letters! When she isn't speaking with lien holders, Melissa enjoys practicing yoga, walking the dog, and vacationing at beach resorts..


  • Viagra suppliers in the uk

    Jan 27, 2014 at 05:31 AM - Unapproved

    obaaazfbutdpvouszgppet, Com buy fioricet, IBWxhRq, [url=]Fioricet drug[/url], pXVSikn, Can fioricet be used for anything other than migraine headaches, aApCKUu, Xanax, AcfQslX, [url=]Buy Xanax[/url], qtSMtcM, Buy Xanax, cLFfYdc, Buy viagra online, GHNDqab, [url=]Viagra pharmacy[/url], gnppTxD, Side effects of viagra, Rqvtmpt, Female uk viagra, YpgoItV, [url=]Purchase viagra online[/url], LcQoYXW, Cheapest uk supplier viagra, KMZOmVq, Ambien, goIfUIf, [url=]Long term effects of ambien[/url], Kvnirmv, Will ambien test positive + drug screen, twjRzsI, Buy viagra uk, EkfsAsI, [url=]Buy viagra online inurl:nc[/url], jXCAAgJ, Viagra uk, DCJZiGz.

  • JoshuaRest

    Feb 09, 2014 at 12:40 PM - Unapproved

    Hello. Thank you for your site. fhgDber4sw3

  • Buy Ambien

    Feb 20, 2014 at 04:48 PM - Unapproved

    ixtftzfbutdpvouszgppet, No life insurance, RrJvueh, [url=]Life insurance affordable[/url], CwdKObn, Life whole life insurance, fCnYGpb, Ambien, WBnKjSG, [url=]Ambien[/url], rcsSCLl, Zolpidem vs ambien, jXRwkzB, Female uk viagra, HfGSkNR, [url=]Get viagra avoid prescription[/url], fdFwufL, Jamaica blog negril sex viagra, uLnzQzg, Levitra free sample, UFWWvyp, [url=]Levitra veterans cost[/url], PaKvkDo, Levitra tag line and 2009 advertisements, ZGyHNnz, Semenax Ingredients, iUrrbcy, [url=]Semenax[/url], cLldHVg, Semenax, QaRVdlb, Cialis comparison, BQTIyxK, [url=]Generic cialis without a prescription[/url], bavBHct, Can cialis use for high blood preasur, RTVjcEA.

  • Cialis female

    Feb 20, 2014 at 06:03 PM - Unapproved

    qipugzfbutdpvouszgppet, Cialis no prescription, DzJTcHA, [url=]How to take cialis[/url], TuikSIW, India cialis, daRahcb, Casino Online, dFJQptc, [url=]Casino Online[/url], NSRkUiL, Live casino online, iNvZmVg, Tramadol, mKjXluU, [url=]Cheap tramadol prescriptions online[/url], VgHgyks, Tramadol cod, aeCNrml, Human Growth Hormone, wntYCRN, [url=]Human Growth Hormone[/url], CmrLfhw, Side affect of human growth hormone, uBTKbDL, Extenze, GkeBPwC, [url=]Extenze[/url], pqHUGwy, Extenze, TylEqFm, African Mango Weight Loss, AAxtLKy, [url=]African Mango Weight Loss[/url], QuKapqo, Dr Oz African Mango, gnSAxsN.

  • outletkxewd

    Mar 01, 2014 at 03:42 AM - Unapproved

    canada goose coats cheap balaidos - canada goose jacket sale

  • outletcseci

    Mar 05, 2014 at 09:12 AM - Unapproved

    ray ban sunglasses for men erubescent cheap louis vuitton berlainan christian louboutin shoes pacino

  • outletzayzu

    Mar 06, 2014 at 07:40 AM - Unapproved

    cheap toms outlet pincher's cheap toms shoes okeene toms outlet marzec

  • outletplggy

    Mar 06, 2014 at 01:01 PM - Unapproved

    toms outlet online nonconscription cheap toms outlet notra cheap toms shoes semisets

  • StephenSn

    Mar 19, 2014 at 05:05 AM - Unapproved

    b viagra cnlow, kopa viagra zfvru, cialis rezeptfrei jjura

  • Dapoxetine ingredients

    Mar 27, 2014 at 07:10 AM - Unapproved

    xsjpjzfbutdpvouszgppet, Purchase dapoxetine, tFtWByT, [url=]Dapoxetine hydrochloride option equivalent[/url], oIpOjuk, Dapoxetine hydrochloride option, rIJiTCa.

  • outletzipsa

    Mar 27, 2014 at 07:18 AM - Unapproved

    sfeazif toms shoes outlet wbxhzjr toms outlet hnfmhhp toms outlet ayedscl tiffany outlet online cueabwv toms shoes outlet jtzqivz

  • outletaparj

    Mar 27, 2014 at 07:24 AM - Unapproved

    boadcan toms outlet online voyeqcr toms shoes outlet txfajsy toms outlet jfmtgrj toms outlet online zrpqrqt toms outlet online uqtfhhi

  • outletrrqat

    Mar 27, 2014 at 07:26 AM - Unapproved

    bclfsbu toms outlet jhaecru toms outlet online qgnqeij toms outlet online yfqbxmb toms shoes outlet ztsivwu toms shoes outlet tmdecra

  • outletifjmg

    Mar 27, 2014 at 10:24 AM - Unapproved

    yqkuqsx toms outlet online stinjxp toms shoes outlet gruktld toms shoes outlet kroznwo toms outlet pjicbro tiffany outlet online invzdry

  • Pharmacy carisoprodol

    Mar 27, 2014 at 10:33 AM - Unapproved

    ckzeyzfbutdpvouszgppet, Carisoprodol hcl test, fFGOeMx, [url=]Carisoprodol medication[/url], lGDxgXq, Carisoprodol 350 mg, EHnBVoe.

  • hentai titfuck

    Apr 22, 2014 at 11:05 PM - Unapproved

    gzoxszfbutdpvouszgppet, hentai titfuck, LXpfJlC, [url=]hentai titfuck[/url], rPTGQBm, hentai titfuck, RpIfrOA, nollning nude, ixYwvri, [url=]nollning nude[/url], cbJvvoU, nollning nude, YOTPhpz, lena gymnast doing splits on cock pics gallery, ChEtgbo, [url=]lena gymnast doing splits on cock pics gallery[/url], ihDGmeT, lena gymnast doing splits on cock pics gallery, QiPzfTm, katie morgan too, vTKBNWx, [url=]katie morgan too[/url], vtTDCRC, katie morgan too, DSaUkBH, college girls oral, pCTayTi, [url=]college girls oral[/url], ajmklWC, college girls oral, mhlzeMv, lexi swallow naked, BCefVeB, [url=]lexi swallow naked[/url], uukboyu, lexi swallow naked, fqLAPoo.

  • campg

    Apr 22, 2014 at 11:06 PM - Unapproved

    ycxzqzfbutdpvouszgppet, campg, LQSYlyd, [url=]campg[/url], hVxqrpI, campg, kRfOWcl.

  • fuktastickate free full video

    Apr 22, 2014 at 11:20 PM - Unapproved

    wxlmkzfbutdpvouszgppet, fuktastickate free full video, EUhFEnM, [url=]fuktastickate free full video[/url], nDCqSVz, fuktastickate free full video, VChIsis.

  • little girl porn

    Apr 22, 2014 at 11:52 PM - Unapproved

    kfbbwzfbutdpvouszgppet, little girl porn, LLSPWMi, [url=]little girl porn[/url], ckFfBGg, little girl porn, ZFjWCBa.

  • wxfotnb

    Apr 24, 2014 at 12:16 PM - Unapproved

    cheap Tampa Bay Lightning jerseys

  • pdoznta

    Apr 24, 2014 at 12:17 PM - Unapproved

    cheap Pittsburgh Penguins jerseys

  • nqegleb

    Apr 24, 2014 at 06:22 PM - Unapproved

    louboutin men sneakers outlet

  • uqgeeep

    Apr 24, 2014 at 06:22 PM - Unapproved

    moncler outlet

  • yohizdn

    Apr 25, 2014 at 05:26 AM - Unapproved

    mulberry outlet UK

  • iutucvh

    Apr 25, 2014 at 01:00 PM - Unapproved

    babyliss pro perfect curl boots That won't happen. Hentoff reminds all of us that the "right" and the "left" have both made blunders in their zeal to shut down the other side. The children's welfare depends on the 100% dedication of mother and father and therefore necessitates that couples remain monogamous for this purpose alone. Monogamy serves many purposes, but love and care of children is of paramount importance.History of Marriage Where Does Divorce Fit In?Just as polygamy was modified into monogamy over the centuries, monogamy also underwent a modification


  • cvyavoq

    Apr 25, 2014 at 01:02 PM - Unapproved

    prada outlet online SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador On a steamy, late summer day near the Salvadoran coast, more than 100 police working an intelligence tip scoured a near vacant cattle ranch the size of 42 Manhattan blocks. Dollars. The American Institute of Architects named the fourth on its list of America's favorite architecture. Though it's not visited as much as the other two monuments, it still draws more than 2 million visitors every year.


  • fknrvxj

    Apr 25, 2014 at 01:35 PM - Unapproved

    cheap burberry shirts . taxedirstly, in America, the affected person or an individual will be having sleepless nights. He/She will be unable to carry on his duties and tasks efficiently end effectively. He was born in Providence, RI, on July 3, 1878, and baptized on July 14, 1878, at St. Joseph's Church.


  • Babes Glamour Tits

    Jun 03, 2014 at 05:09 AM - Unapproved

    gfaxuzfbutdpvouszgppet, Babes Glamour Tits, TKeZQaW, [url=]Babes Glamour Tits[/url], vpxHIIe, Babes Glamour Tits, lmtLkKw.

  • Generic Klonopin

    Jun 17, 2014 at 03:08 PM - Unapproved

    jkkorzfbutdpvouszgppet, Buy Klonopin, ZSDBcRB, [url=]Klonopin[/url], Qlqgyrb, Klonopin, cQnRBcQ.

  • zwuntow

    Jun 23, 2014 at 04:05 PM - Unapproved

    camisas de españa copa del mundo 2014 If we choose to look the other way and not do something about this problem then we become a part of the problem. Haile Selassie who is a former emperor of Ethiopia put it this way, "Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph.".


  • zwbmcoc

    Jul 02, 2014 at 04:51 PM - Unapproved

    Karen Millen sale The fact that government had to make laws encouraging acceptance of humans by other humans is not a prideful bit of history. America is one of the only countries with written protection of civilians from government as well as written clarification of equality.


  • ppkosbq

    Jul 05, 2014 at 09:14 PM - Unapproved

    Longchamp soldes "In the rapidly developing field of plant paleoecology and ecophysiology, Dana Royer stands out in terms of innovation and sheer breadth and depth of knowledge. He is truly an emerging leader in the geological sciences," said Leo Hickey, professor of geology and Curator of Paleobotany at Yale University, in supporting Royer's nomination..


  • cddojms

    Jul 09, 2014 at 11:45 AM - Unapproved

    maglia Italia coppa del mondo 2014 The term quidam means a nameless passerby, a solitary figure lingering on a street corner, a person rushing past and swallowed by the crowd. It could be anyone, anybody; someone coming or going at the heart of an anonymous society; a member of the crowd, one of the silent majority; the one who cries out, sings and dreams within us all..


  • ogmlgmh

    Jul 10, 2014 at 10:28 PM - Unapproved

    cheap prada handbags . taxedhey don't know if they're going to get mugged, or pick pocketed, or what. It's not appropriate.". When push came to shove (pun intended), she did her research and fled to a state where she could instantly apply for medicaid to care for the child, where the state would allow her to make the decisions of where this baby should go. This wasn't a miracle of life, it was the miracle of modern science creating a malformed child destined to a short life of round the clock care.


  • pajkjvi

    Jul 11, 2014 at 08:05 AM - Unapproved

    Karen Millen Outlet Participants sometimes wondered if publicity mattered at all. Only two $75,000 units were purchased in Oklahoma City; one was sold by Teeter during a two week lobbying binge after the backers' tryout. These so called 'presidios' were built in today's cities of San Diego, Monterey, San Francisco and Santa Barbara. They were four sided buildings with a big courtyard in the middle and made from bricks, clay and wood.


  • cdujkap

    Jul 11, 2014 at 02:24 PM - Unapproved

    hermes outlet store The amount of noise the projector produces when switched on is another important factor to consider, especially in a home theatre setup. As a loud projector will be audible over the sounds from the movie you are watching, which never is a good thing as that will draw your attention away from the movie you are watching.


  • atkhszs

    Jul 14, 2014 at 12:10 PM - Unapproved

    burberry outlet UK Because Scholarship America administers so many scholarships, award amounts vary widely. According to the Scholarship America website, the average scholarship award is $2,221 in 2011. Rep. Paul Ryan, R Wis., is one of the most articulate economic conservatives to recently emerge on the national scene.


  • Agponova

    May 05, 2017 at 09:31 PM - Unapproved

    Дешевая виагра! Удиви свою девушку выносливостью в постели!
    Цены от 75руб. за таблетку - купить сиалис петербург

    аптечные препараты для продления полового акта

  • Konstantinapels

    Jan 19, 2018 at 01:43 PM - Unapproved

    Win the new iPhone X here!


    May 09, 2018 at 03:43 AM - Unapproved

  • ofiqucayecaf

    Sep 26, 2018 at 12:15 PM - Unapproved

    http:/// - .ankor .ankor

  • oikexuhubac

    Sep 26, 2018 at 12:34 PM - Unapproved

    http:/// - .ankor .ankor


    Oct 26, 2018 at 06:42 AM - Unapproved
    cream wajah liyoskin AMAN (Guest) 11/12/2017 09:45

    LIYOSKIN CREAM WAJAH AMAN (Guest) 11/12/2017 19:59

  • Jamesvat

    Dec 24, 2018 at 03:17 AM - Unapproved

    Hello. International free dating

  • Georgesnila

    Jan 29, 2019 at 07:18 AM - Unapproved

    нужен транзит на ип - помощь в обнале, помощь в обналичке

  • KellyRog

    Apr 09, 2019 at 03:16 AM - Unapproved

    find here
    free movies 123movies - watch free thriller movies, watch family movies 123movies

  • شركة نقل عفش بجدة

    May 05, 2019 at 10:01 PM - Unapproved

    شركات نقل عفش واثاث بجدة
    شركات نقل عفش بالطائف
    اسعار وارقام شركات نقل العفش بالمدينة المنورة
    دينا نقل عفش جدة ,افضل دينا
    ارخص شركه نقل عفش بجده
    دليل شركات نقل العفش بجدة
    شركة نقل عفش برابغ ,15 عام خبرة
    شركات نقل عفش واثاث بالباحه
    وسائل نقل العفش بخميس مشيط

  • Fields marked with are required.

    Allowed tags: <b><i><br>


    For Home Use   For Foodservice Use