5/27/2005

Cowen to unveil €12m retirement village

A new €12m purpose built fully integrated retirement village complete with nursing home and other facilities will be opened by the Minister for Finance, Brian Cowen, this afternoon in Moate in Co Westmeath.

I understand the need for retirement homes but I hate them all the same.

It destroyed my Mum when she had to put my Grandfather into a nursing home on doctor’s orders.

He had fallen and ended up in hospital for 6 months. He developed very bad Alzheimer’s. This was a man who had been a foreman in the sewage industry and was responsible for the sewage system we now have in Dromintee. By all accounts an absolute bastard to work for because he demanded perfection with every aspect of his work force. He had his faults as we all do but to see him near the end destroyed me. It got to the stage were he was barely audible, he would constantly cry with the frustration of not remembering things. He was always a big man, not fat but well built and strong. I remember being told a story were a British soldier had been disrespectful to my grandmother and he marched up the road after the patrol and busted him, he was subsequently lifted and given a hiding but he had that real South Armagh attitude where he didn't take shit from no one, a trait I am proud to have inherited.

Near the end he could only barely remember me and my mother. We have a very large family circle and he couldn't even remember his own kids. His muscles had depleted to the stage where he couldn't walk and he just lay there crying with mucus coming out of his mouth. I still bear guilt because for a few months before his death I didn't visit him because I found it boring and upsetting. I will live with that guilt for a long time.

Alzheimer’s is the disease that frightens me more so than any else, I have seen the damage it can do and it scares me.

I have always said that my own mother and father will never go into a nursing home.

I understand the great pain people have when they are forced to send their loved ones into a nursing home.


We in this country do not value our elderly with the respect they deserve and we should because old age comes to us all.

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