Alan’s Story

“I get to believe in myself. I get to reach out to other people. I get to help other people”

Limerick-born Alan McCarthy is a resident of Teach Fáilte, Anvers Housing’s assisted living residence in Mountbolus, County Offaly. Several years ago, he was a victim of an assault that left him with a severe acquired brain injury. Now he is 30 years’ old and ready to move out of Teach Fáilte, into his own house. Read Alan’s story below.

Alan’s life at Teach Fáilte

Alan’s describes his time at Teach Fáilte as enjoyable and helpful. With the support of the Acquired Brain Injury Ireland (ABII) team he has re-learnt many of the skills that were lost as a result of his brain injury, including how to cook again. He also had a chance to meet other brain injury survivors and listen to their stories. Hearing the experiences of other people in his situation has really helped Alan, and he knows he is not alone.

Alan is easy going and gets on very well with everyone at Teach Fáilte, including his key workers from ABII. He explains how living there has given him the chance to attend different cognitive groups, which he finds very useful as part of his rehabilitation.

It helps having a routine to follow

Having a routine to follow in Teach Fáilte has been helpful to Alan’s recovery. His typical day is busy, but allows time for him to engage in his chosen activities.

Usually, Alan’s day starts around 8am. The Rehabilitation Assistants at Teach Fáilte have helped him organise his medication schedule, which he takes three times daily – first thing in the morning, after lunch, and in the evening. After breakfast, Alan goes to a cognitive group where he joins other people living with neurological conditions. Together they work on tools and strategies to support them with communication, planning and managing day-to-day life after brain injury.

Once this group is over, Alan goes out to lunch with the other members of the group. He takes a fatigue break for about 90 minutes – an important strategy introduced during his time at Teach Fáilte to help him manage his energy levels throughout the day. He then has some time to chill out before dinner.

After dinner every day, Alan enjoys the opportunity to sit around the table and chat with the other tenants. He does some of his physiotherapy in the house gym, and then has time to chat to his housemates, play pool, watch television and rest before bed.

“I get to do things for myself and am encouraged to do this by the staff. I can get help when I need it, especially when I am feeling down.”

With help from ABII, Alan has regained his confidence

Alan remains very connected to his family, home and community. He has two boys and loves playing games and messing with them at home. He also enjoys the opportunity to clean the house and spends time listening to his favourite music and painting. Alan worked as painting contractor before his brain injury.

Alan is very proud of his growing following on YouTube, where he has two rap videos with his brother. With help from the Rehabilitation Assistants at Teach Fáilte, Alan has regained his confidence and can continue to enjoy his time with family and friends, knowing he has 24/7 support if he needs it.

Living at Mountbolus has given Alan back his independence

Living at Teach Fáilte has changed Alan’s life for the better. It has given him a chance to believe in himself again. The team in the house has encouraged him to do things for himself and if he is ever feeling down, he knows he can turn to any member of staff. In turn, as Alan has regained his independence, he has begun to reach out to other survivors of brain injury to help them too. He has insight into their feelings and often knows what they need. In his words, “Once you get to know them, you get to know their feelings”. Any time one of his friends is down, he always tries to bring them back up.

Now, Alan is on the cusp of a move out of Teach Fáilte and into his own house, where he will live more independently. He says he is excited to move out by himself and grateful to the ABII staff, the other tenants and his family for all the help he received to get his life back on track. Alan’s life changed after his brain injury but with the right support and services, he eventually regained his independence.

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