Alzheimer’s Disease – December 1996

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Alzheimer’s Disease affects more than 25,000 Irish men and women. There are 4,500 Alzheimer victims living in the West of Ireland.

Although previously perceived as a disease as a result of old age, it can and does strike as early as fifty, forty or even thirty years of age. Alzheimer’s Disease (pronounced Altz-hi-mer) was identified by Dr. Alois Alzheimer in 1908. It’s cause is still unknown, it is so far incurable and there is no effective treatment for it.


Alzheimer’s Disease slowly kills the brain cells which leads to:-

1. Increasing Memory Loss (looking at t.v. they would forget immediately what they see)

2. Confusion and a tendency to wander (Not knowing their closest relation and wander from their own home and get lost)

3. Physical deterioration and incontinence (Lose the use of their limbs, weight loss, etc.)

4. Complete helplessness (You will have to do everything for them, i.e. feeding, washing, etc.)

That is why it is called ‘The Living Death’

There is virtually none at present, in spite of enormous sums of money spent on research world-wide. Sadly, it is a terminal disease.

The family are effected on two levels-(a) Emotionally. (b) Practically. In many ways the relative suffer more from the Alzheimer’s Disease than the victims themselves.

Having to watch someone you love disintegrate, little by little, is agonising. The adjustment of looking after a parent like a child is especially difficult for young adults and teenagers to accept. All social life is disrupted. In many cases legal and financial problems have to be faced and professional advice sought. It cannot be stressed strong enough for Wills, etc. to be dealt with at the earliest stage possible, i.e. diagnosis of the disease. How would you cope if this disease struck your home?

Western Alzheimer’s Foundation, determined to continue in their plan to help and support carers of Alzheimer’s patients in counties Galway, Mayo and Roscommon, have opened a Respite Home in Claremorris.

On October 24th, 19.. Michael Ryan, Chairman of the Western Health Board officially opened Marion House Respite House Respite Home, Convent Road, Claremorris. It was a joyous day, the sun shone brightly on Carers, Politicians, Nurses, Doctors, Alzheimer Patients, members of FÁS and friends of the foundation. Fr. John O’Grady, curate, Barnacarroll, blessed the home and all that may enter it’s doors.

Western Alzheimer’s Foundation is renting this house in Claremorris, an area central to the three counties. This is a pilot project to determine need, degree of demand, feasibility. It is a four bedded facility open Monday to Friday inclusive, staffed day and night by nurses and nurses aides. The first patients arrived on November 4th. With the commencement of this home we feel a major step forward has been taken to alleviate the suffering and burdens of carers of Alzheimer’s Patients. It is our hope, going from strength to strength, to be able to build or proposed purpose built unit in Ballindine, Co. Mayo. as soon as possible.

With the development of the Marion House Respite Home it has put enormous pressure on our financial resources, and we would greatly appreciate fund-raising events on our behalf organised by any group. It is imperative that we continue with renewed energy to fund-raise, thus ensuring that the carers of Galway, Mayo, Roscommon will continue to receive the service and support they so badly need and deserve.

The Western Alzheimer’s Foundation Home Support Schemes are working very successfully, giving carers much needed “Time Out”. Alzheimer’s Patients need 24 hour care, a difficult task for the primary carer, be it wife, husband, daughter or son, daughter-in-law, sister or brother. Our sitters visit the homes – give the carers regular breaks – support, encourage and counsel.

We are opening a Day Care Centre in Galway city and will have an office and help-line available. There is an established helpline for anyone seeking help and information O94 – 62480, at anytime. There is a facility of Day Care and Respite Care and Home Support. To maintain the standard and progression in our work, Western Alzheimer’s Foundation need your help to “Share the Care”.

From The Western Health Board through the kind help of Marion Coen, Cahertymore.

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About this record

Written by Marion Coen

Published here 12 Jan 2023 and originally published December 1996

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