The new year is in full swing. Schools are back. Swimming Pools are open again. And Pádraig went for another session in the pool with his favourite swimming teachers. It was almost like the old days.
We interrupted Taoiseach Enda Kenny on the 9 o’clock RTÉ News tonight saying nothing for far too long about Brexit and watched last nights programme “We need to talk about Dad” on the RTÉ Player. A few people had asked us today whether we had watched it. I hadn’t. Basically, it’s about Brendan Courtney’s family trying to figure out what to do with their father who had suffered a stroke and had become dependent.
There is so much I’d like to say about this programme. About the ability of their father to speak, to eat, to drink, and to move at least part of his body. About the idea of possibly feeling guilty in the future if they didn’t care sufficiently for their father in the presence. About the ‘busy life’ Brendan and his siblings were leading, apparently preventing them to look after their father. About the mother and wife who said she couldn’t physically lift, move, and wash her husband. About the at times sloppy research and editing of the programme stating at some point that (towards the end) that he couldn’t understand that the State would make 2,300 euro or thereabouts available under the Fair Deal to pay for a nursing home, yet wouldn’t make the same amount available for home care. (Note that earlier in the programme the weekly cost of two nursing homes were quoted as 1,100 and 1,300 or thereabouts. Also note that home care packages delivering, for example, 56 hours per week at 22 euro per hour cost roughly the same as a nursing home – do not require the paper work of the Fair Deal and are paid for by the State.)
Earlier today, I helped a neighbour – he’s in his mid eighties, I think – to collect his wife of roughly the same age from a nursing home to bring her back home – after around three years of her having lived in unacceptable surroundings. He managed to get a home care package for her with carers coming in 4 times a day. Compared to our neighbour’s wife, Brendan’s father is really well. Yet our neighbour would not have it any other way but having his wife back home.
If ever there was a hero. Tonight, our neighbour is my hero. Talk about love. It’s right on our doorstep.