The ongoing closure of day services for the elderly and people with disabilities is leaving people with “no life to live for.”
State-funded day services remain closed or only partially open even though both users and staff are fully vaccinated.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, 85-year-old widow Margaret Huggins said that, without any children of her own, she relied on the services for friendship and company.
“I am so isolated,” she said. “I went to three daycare centres every week – that is gone.
“I miss the company. I miss trying to dress myself properly and going out and meet people and having contact with people because it is lovely to get a phone call but the physical contact is everything.
“When I was going to the day centre, I felt much happier living on my own – I haven’t been feeling happy at all.
“I find that the longer it is going on, the more depressed I can get. It is giving people no life to live for. Nothing to get up for in fact.
“There are many times when you just stay in your dressing gown because you just have no interest in life – at least I haven’t anyway and I am sure there are many more like me.”
Also on the show, Independent TD Denis Naughten said day services are “urgently needed and need to be reopened now.”
“I’ve spoken with quite a number of staff within the HSE from those on the ground right through to senior management and they themselves are expressing frustration with me with the lack of reopening,” he said.
“The more I talk to them, the more concerned I am that this is about saving money rather than ensuring services are reinstated.”
He said no one he has spoken to in the HSE has directly claimed that the closures are linked to money.
“But what I am hearing is the lack of urgency that is there in reopening these services,” he said. “You have to ask yourself the question, why is that the case?
“Why are older people and people with disabilities not getting the vaccine bonus?
“Why is it the case that we have older people losing their independence, people with a disability remaining in their own homes, not getting out and meeting their friends like they would have done up to now?
“These people need to be made a priority and these services need to open up for vaccinated people from next week.”
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Main image shows a man admiring the flowers in the Botanic Gardens in Dublin, 29-10-2020. Image: Leon Farrell/RollingNews