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International Day of Older Persons

Posted 09:09AM on Wednesday 01 October 2014

Today is International Day of Older Persons. Our Better Futures Project supports older people who care for a family member with a learning disability. Research has shown that older carers often feel isolated and are fearful about the future care of their children. Better Futures staff and volunteers provide advice and practical supports as well as helping them plan ahead, so that we don’t have the appalling situation in which people hope their children die before them. Barbara Murphy, whose 28 year old son, Mark, has autism, tells us how the Project has made a major difference to both their lives.

“Mark is getting out and about a lot more. He’s being encouraged to become more independent, thanks to his wonderful support workers. For the first time, he’s been able to get on a bus unaccompanied. He’s also using his mobile phone, which he has had for about six years, but refused to use it when we wanted him to. It’s just such a wonderful thing for us to see. Before this, he had no friends and no social life. Nobody had ever taken him out before.

From my own point of view, I have found it wonderful. I had to take early retirement to support Mark, because my mother was unable to be his respite carer any more. We have no extended family, so Better Futures has been a great addition to our lives. The support I’ve had from other parents has been just wonderful.

As well as the changes to our everyday lives, Better Futures will help us look after the legal aspects of planning for the future. It has been the biggest relief.

There is massive pressure on carers, especially carers of older people with a learning disability. As carers we need help, information and support to prepare for the future. Better Futures gives me that.”

If you’re interested in finding out more about our Better Futures Project please contact Project Co–ordinator Anne Murphy on 028 91475795 or email