Le Chairde Day Care Centre opens its doors to families of Alzheimers patients

An open day at the Le Chairde Day Care Centre, recently, was an opportunity for the people of Cashel to see the facilities at the centre and also for families to learn more about the care that is offered to their loved ones.

An open day at the Le Chairde Day Care Centre, recently, was an opportunity for the people of Cashel to see the facilities at the centre and also for families to learn more about the care that is offered to their loved ones.

The Alzheimer’s Society of Ireland has recently assumed responsibility for the provision of day care respite for people living with dementia at Le Chairde Day Care Centre, Our Lady’s Campus, Cashel.

The society, which is the country’s leading dementia-specific service provider, officially opened the doors to its newest centre early in November. It is the only Alzheimer Society day care centre for people living with dementia in South Tipperary (it does operate a centre in Ballina, North Tipperary).

This new centre is the result of a Service Level Agreement which is now in place between the HSE and the Alzheimer’s Society to provide day respite for patients living with dementia at the Cashel Centre.

On Wednesday, December 14, the centre held an open day for people who would like to learn more about the services offered there, to see at first hand the facilities and to find out how their loved ones can avail of the service.

Le Chairde Day Care Centre, which is located on the grounds of Our Lady’s Campus Cashel (can be accessed from the hospital car park or from William Street) was purpose-built some years ago as a full respite centre for 24/7 care for people with dementia. The Alzheimer’s Society however is operating a five-day service, from Monday to Friday, to people in a stimulating and comfortable environment. There is an activity room, dining room, day room, as well as a kitchen. Twelve bedrooms are also available in the centre, which were originally built for use as part of a full-time respite unit. The Alzheimer’s Society’s day service caters for twelve to sixteen people.

There are a range of activities available to the clients that make the days varied and interesting. The focus of the centre is the provision of care in an environment where people with dementia/ Alzheimers feel comfortable and are stimulated and where our carers work to meet each clients individual needs as far as possible.

An important feature of the service is that it provides activities outside the home, giving stimulation and care to each client and a break for the primary carer. Depending on their wishes we offer the person with dementia/Alzheimers a wide range of activities at “Le Chairde” Day care centre including reminiscence therapy, music sessions, gentle exercises, arts and crafts and also provide personal care.

There are over 44,000 people in Ireland living with a form of dementia. In South Tipperary there are approximately 1010 people with Alzheimers. Centres such as this one in Cashel are essential for the well-being of people who are living with the illness and are equally important for the loved ones and relatives who help care for those people or who are the primary carers.

In many cases family members are caring for their loved ones alone, day care centres like Le Chairde give people a break for a few hours or a few days.

This is a vital service for carers who need a break themselves and that is very important even if it is just for one day in the week.

Patients who attend the centre receive a light breakfast, three course meal for lunch as well as refreshments over the course of the day.

The Alzheimer’s Society’s new day care centre is part-funded by the HSE and costs €E12 per day to avail of the service. A bus service is also available where possible to assist people. As well as the nurse-in-charge there are six care staff on the roster and a mini-bus driver.

The Alzheimer Society of Ireland also offer a Home Care programme and support group - contact the Clonmel Resource Centre on Kickham Street for more information.

Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe various conditions which damage brain cells and lead to a loss of brain function over time. Dementia is progressive, which means the symptoms will get worse over time but how quickly dementia progresses depends entirely on the individual, each person will have their own, unique experience with dementia.

Dementia is characterised by a gradual deterioration in memory and in the person’s ability to carry out everyday activities, make decisions, understand information and express themselves. Dementia may also affect a person’s mood and personality.

The Alzheimer Society of Ireland along with the HSE have come together to ensure that services such as “Le Cairde Day” Care centre are available to those people who are affected by Alzheimers in the South Tipperary area and we hope that this partnership will continue into the future. For further information please contact – The Alzheimer Society of Ireland, Le Cairde Day Care, Our Lady’s Campus, Cashel (062)63060, or The Alzeimer Society of Ireland Home Care Services, The Community Resource Centre. Kickham Street, Clonmel (052)6182730 or (086)0490548. Website: www.alzheimer.ie National Helpline: 1800341341