ST MARY OF THE ANGELS
The St Mary of the Angels Parents and Relatives Association was formed in response to the HSE's decongregation policy which seeks to eliminate all large residential settings for people with disabilities in Ireland. Our mission, in addition to securing the long-term future of our loved-ones’ home, is to continuously improve and enhance the lives of the 75 people for whom St Mary of the Angels, Beaufort, is a very special community and one in which they belong.
HIQA have identified two specific areas for improvement on the campus, we intend to meet this need by building extensions to create two additional living spaces. In addition, we are looking at ways to open up the onsite hydrotherapy pool so that those in the wider community could benefit from it. We will continue to liaise with key stakeholders to identify other areas for improvement on the campus and will use all the funds that we raise to ensure that each day is meaningful and happy for all those living in St Mary of the Angels. This will have a significant impact for all 75 residents by helping secure continued HIQA registration and thus the future of their home and much loved community.
My brother Johnny was born on 22/10/1965. He is a resident at St Mary of the Angels , Beaufort since 1968 when he was just three years of age. He has Downs Syndrome.
Since Johnny has lived at SMOA the essential care he needs has always been provided for – this includes his sensory, emotional and medical needs. He has always been very well looked after by his wonderful carers and over the years they have built a very special bond with him. They say he is a pleasure to be with and I know from speaking with them how well they know him personally and how they understand him.
Johnny shares the chalet he lives in with another 7 adult men. He shares his bedroom with another man and their dining area is also their recreation area. Their movement and that of their carers in this living/dining space is very restricted due to its size. The space is small, much too small for the needs of eight adults.
Johnny loves to listen to music, he loves Daniel O'Donnell and Westlife among others. He taps his fingers along to the rhythm. He sometimes likes the quietness, a little while to be by himself.
Another room will mean so much to his quality of life and to that of his fellow residents giving them more independence and an opportunity to choose an activity they might like to pursue, a place where Johnny can listen to his music. This addition will also give him the badly needed personal space and the opportunity to have that little bit of quiet time now and again.
My Uncle Con is a funny, loveable character who was born with Down Syndrome, is non-verbal and is also blind. Con is a resident in St Mary of the Angels for the past thirty-three years, where he began his journey in the main house at the tender age of eight.
At this early stage Con was completely dependent, as he could not carry out simple daily tasks such as feeding himself and he could not articulate how to socialise. However, with the consistent and dedicated help of the amazing staff at St Mary of the Angels, Con progressed to gain independence with various tasks and now loves socialising on the wonderful trips offered to him at St Mary of the Angels. After a number of years, at the age of 14, Con moved to Chalet two, known as Doyle House, centrally situated in the grounds of St Mary of the Angels. Con is now 42 years old and still happily living in Doyle house with six other men.
As a family we are continuously grateful for the love and attention con receives daily from his devoted carers in St Mary of the Angels. It is amazing to see a facility with all the services required for Con’s care to be within the same grounds he lives in. These facilities coupled with the staff’s knowledge and bond they hold with each resident, allows for all their holistic care needs to be met.
Space is a necessity for these seven grown men who each utilise a mobility aid on a daily basis, which indeed takes up a considerable amount of space. However, as my Uncle Con and his friends increase in age, so to do their demands and space needs. It is important to also remember that this space is also where the staff spend their time with the residents, again increasing the amount of people in the small space. At present, the sitting room and dining area is within the same space, meaning that the seven residents eat and take part in leisure activities in the same room.
Con enjoys music whether it be listening to a CD or watching a concert. However, he also enjoys quietness, calm and being able to stretch himself across a couch. The noise levels that accompany seven grown men are intense, and are amplified by the small living space they are provided with. Thus, it sometimes creates an uneasy atmosphere that I know Con finds hard to process on some days.
And so, an extra bit of space would not only increase Con’s quality of life, but the six other men he lives with too. The space would give them all opportunities to carry out their preferred choice of activity or provide an extra quiet lounge space. I know from watching the wonderful staff care for Con, one of the traits they encourage him to pursue daily, is independence. Which I regard as a very important factor for my Uncle to gain. As Con is blind the extra space would allow him to practice this independence through various other activities that are not possible at the moment with the current space restriction.
Thus, it is evident that the increased space would not only increase Con’s quality of life, but allow for increased learning and character building opportunities which everyone should be afforded throughout their life.