The disabled, their family carers and COVID19 in Ireland

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I mowed around the bright yellow flowers in my back garden yesterday. I’ll be helping the bees, was my first thought. My second thought was my father’s voice transporting me back to my 5 year old self. “Why are you pulling the flowers, Dad? They’re so pretty!” The annoyed voice replied telling me how they were weeds that didn’t belong in the lawn. More were ripped out as his sweat dripped down upon them.

I continued to mow around the bright yellow flowers in my back garden. Who’s to say they’re weeds, I then thought. Are they still not a lovely flower that brings beauty to a world which so often has too little?

I looked in the window to check on my precious son laying in his bed. His smile beamed up at me as I waved at him. A beautiful, bright flower in a world which would often consider him of lesser importance than the familiar green lawns finely manicured to perfection.

And then I wondered: Would my own dad consider this grandson, whom he never got to meet, as a weed to be discarded as other family members have suggested, or would he see him as I do, as a happy blossom of love and light?

I went back to finish mowing the back garden, more determined than ever to fight for the dandelions of this world. 

In this surreal and challenging time as the world tries to make its way though a pandemic, historically marginalised communities such as the disabled in our society are continuing to be ignored. What’s so pressing about it now is that it’s an urgent matter of life or death as the needs of the disabled community in residential care homes are being overlooked.

In Ireland, dozens of people in disability care homes are now infected with COVID19. As of last night’s (14 April 2020) Department of Health briefing, no figures were available on if any of those precious souls have died.

There should be data.
If there isn’t, why isn’t there?
If there is, why isn’t it being released?

There should have been a care plan in place weeks ago for any of our disabled members of society and for their family carers should they contract COVID19. There wasn’t. 

My son lives at home with me, but so many other people’s disabled sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, don’t. These residential care homes are just that – homes. We should all be completely safe in our own homes. Disabled people – more vulnerable to the adverse affects of COVID19 than the majority of the population – in these settings aren’t as safe as my son is in our own private home…

…and that is a fact I can’t ignore. I hope you, kind reader, won’t ignore it either.

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