Home Help/Personal Assistants for Disabled People – Changing roles and practice

Social Work Action Network Ireland activist speaks from personal experience –

“The more I live as a disabled woman in Ireland the more I wonder who has power over my life. The rhetoric of ‘assisted living in independence’ is a disappearing value, a disappearing of an age when disabled people said what works to help us live independently.
Home helps no longer ‘clean’, they merely do ‘light domestic chores’ for all else infringes ‘health and safety’ which has taken over in the ridiculous extreme. What a home help would do in her own home she’s not allowed do in a client’s home. Home helps have been trained to undertake washing, dressing, undressing, and bodily care tasks, yet that was NEVER a home help task. They all want to be ‘carer’s, they don’t like the old style ‘cleaning’ …but I can’t do it! Luckily I have two excellent home helps. But others have walked out saying “I’m not obliged to do that”.
Personal assistants are those people who help me feel I am living life just like everyone else. She is my extended arm, my feet, my energy, my reason to stay engaged in living. But now there is a threat on the horizon…her roles and duties are to be curtailed, she too is to be made a personal hygienist! She is only allowed to wash, dress, clean, feed me…well that’s the threat. It hasn’t happened yet.
So she won’t be able to do those things that give my life value. I’d rather stink to high heaven then not be taken on the beach with my dog!
I’m losing the plot with service providers taking control of my life. Telling me what my home helps and personal assistants can or cannot do. I want control back.
The Fine Gael manifesto 2011 promised…
“By the end of our first term in Government, Fine Gael will give people with disabilities the option of ‘Personal Care Budgets’ so that they can choose the services that meet their individual needs.”
– Fine Gael Manifesto 2011
Time to challenge this party political broadcast of lies…
What do I want? ‘a personal care budget’ (direct payments)
When do I want it? NOW!”

Dr Margaret Kennedy


*Picture sourced here: http://pioneergrrrl.tripod.com/disabilitygrrrl.html

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