Last week we caught up with Aine O’Reilly who is currently Person in Charge in Stewarts Care and who has been working in nursing since 2002. Aine told us how much she loves working in the area of intellectual disability as she feels you can make a real difference to people’s lives. “You become part of their voice so that they can be heard. You really do play a big part in someone’s life.”
Aine is passionate about her work at Stewarts Care and today we have come to talk to her about Maggie Gahan, who is currently the oldest service user in Stewarts Care and is now 94 years of age. Maggie came to Stewarts Care when she was 33 years old from a very large family in Wexford. Aine describes her as a strong-willed woman – ‘a force of nature’ – who has is know for her humor and unique character. Throughout her years she has built life-long relationships with staff members and fellow service users. Her caring nature and charismatic demeanor are recognized by everyone in Stewarts Care.
Maggie is ferociously independent, despite her high physical needs, and likes to drive her own day and make her own decisions in life. Her power chair is very important to her as it means she can have that independence that is so vital to her. “There’s nothing wrong with me… it’s only the legs that don’t work” Maggie’s regularly says. Her interests include going for strolls around the Stewarts Care community and meeting old friends and staff members for a chat. She enjoys reminiscing and talking about the old days in Stewarts and about her family back home in Gorey, Co. Wexford. She is a deeply religious woman and would often pay visits to the church in Palmerstown. Every month she goes back to her hometown and puts flowers on her Mum and Dad’s grave and visits family at home. Most of all Maggie is known for her amazing sense of humour and her warm smile.
Aine marvels at her strength and inner confidence which she feels her parents distilled in her from an early age. “She forces us to be better at what we do because everyone has to follow her lead and do what she wants because she won’t accept anything less”.