A Dublin mother said she felt very fortunate to be able to donate her home to St John of God Community Services so that her adult son with an intellectual disability could continue to live and be cared for in his family home.
Eresa O’Hare, of Glenageary, yesterday officially handed over the four-bedroom family home so her only child, 41-year-old Ryan, can stay there, giving him quality of life and a sense of security.
“There are a lot of aging parents looking after disabled children and it’s a very difficult situation to be in,” she said.
Ms O’Hare said she is fortunate to be able to move into a small house nearby but others may not be in her position. Ryan is able to walk the short distance to visit his mother.
Her old family home is run by St. John of God staff providing 24-hour care and will also house three other residents.
She said the generous gesture was a joint decision between her and her husband Tom, who died three years ago. He was site manager and they settled here in the 1970’s after returning from Alberta, Canada.
Ryan took center stage yesterday as he cut the ribbon and declared that “this house is open”.
Ms O’Hare, a former nurse, spoke of Ryan’s fortunate nature, but like many parents of an adult child with an intellectual disability, she and her late husband wanted to ensure his future care.
“Ryan is our only child. He grew up in this house and it’s about his birthright in many ways. Since he has been and will continue to be cared for by St. John of God Community Services throughout his life, it seemed like the right thing to offer our home to the service so he could stay here for the rest of his life.
In Ireland there are around 3,000 more people with a disability currently living with parents over the age of 70
“By securing Ryan’s future in this way, I’m glad it will also be home to three individuals supported by St. John of God Community Services. My late husband and I have always been very strong believers in the rights of people with disabilities, and the right to a home is certainly central.”
Ryan goes on day duty and has also been on a rest break to which he has adapted well.
The house, which the couple bought in 1979, has now been renovated and adapted to the needs of the residents, who receive 24-hour care.
Michelle Thunder, executive director of the St. John of God Housing Association, thanked Ms. O’Hare for her kindness in making “this extraordinary donation to St. John of God Services.”
She added: “Unfortunately in Ireland there are currently around 3,000 more people with a disability living with parents over 70 and the national waiting list for housing is getting longer rather than shorter.
“While good progress is being made in providing housing for people leaving institutional life on campus, this is the first home in 12 years to be added to St. John of God’s housing stock specifically for the people aging parents living at home. More needs to be done to address this growing problem.”
There have been harrowing cases of elderly patients suffering from a serious illness and an adult child with an intellectual disability who suddenly needed a place to live.
The son or daughter may find themselves in a dorm far from home and in need as the life they have known may be gone forever.
Disability Minister Anne Rabbitte, who attended the formal handover, recognized “the hard work, generosity and love that made this opening possible. I would like to express my gratitude to Teresa O’Hare for her generous donation, the commitment of the Saint John of God Housing Association, Saint John of God Community Services, the Department of Housing and the HSE to ensure the completion of this home. Joint efforts can make a difference. Today you all changed the lives of four people and their families.”
Saint John of God Community Services operates HSE-funded services for children and adults with intellectual disabilities and for children, youth and adults with mental illness. As part of the Saint John of God Hospitaller Services Group, it serves approximately 8,000 children and adults annually with over 3,000 staff and volunteers.
The building work on the house was funded by Dunlaoghaire-Rathdown Council and the HSE provided financial support to provide the staff who will be on hand at all times to look after and support the residents. It has created a new happy family and vital support for Ryan and the other residents who will be able to live as normal lives as possible while also receiving the necessary care and protections they need.
Mrs. O’Hare is also not far from her son and the dream she and her late husband Tom had for Ryan is now becoming a reality. For many other families, however, the future and concerns about their adult children remain as services fall short.
https://www.independent.ie/life/health-wellbeing/ryan-is-our-only-child-this-house-is-his-birthright-dublin-mum-donating-home-to-st-john-of-god-services-42041031.html ‘Ryan is our only child, this home is his birthright’ – Dublin mother donates home to St John of God ministries