A much-needed respite service for people with physical and sensory disabilities in Louth and Meath has been officially launched by Minister of State for Disability Anne Rabbitte TD.

Anam Chara is part of the My Life by Estrela Hall group of services, owned by Michael and Tanya McCoy, who successfully created and developed the multi award-winning Moorehall Lodge Ardee and Moorehall Lodge Drogheda before they were sold in March 2020.

Meaning Soul Friend, Anam Chara is a four-bed state-of-the-art building just off the Carrick Road in Dundalk which supports adults to experience a home from home respite stay.

It provides a new service for Meath and replaces the Louth respite service previously located in Sruthán House, which ceased operation in 2019.

Physical and sensory disabilities may include conditions such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, motor neurone disease, muscular dystrophy, stroke, kidney disease, acquired brain injury (through an accident or illness), hearing impairment and visual impairment, as well as a wide range of chronic health conditions.

My Life by Estrela Hall is a leading innovative provider of HIQA-registered services for adults with physical, sensory and intellectual disabilities.

The McCoy family have been supporting vulnerable adults for many years and the physical and sensory service adds a new dimension to their successful delivery in the area.

Referrals for the service are made through the Louth and Meath HSE Disability Teams and My Life carry out comprehensive assessments to support transition into the respite service.

John Morgan, Point Road Dundalk with Minister of State for Disability Anne Rabbitte TD who cut the ribbon on the new My Life respite service for people with physical and sensory disabilities in Louth and Meath.

“The new Anam Chara respite service will deliver respite care in a personalised and flexible way,” said My Life CEO Sean McCoy.

“We are dedicated to helping people live their lives, their way, celebrating who they are and helping them to enjoy their hobbies and interests.

“At My Life we take the time to get to know the person and their families so that we can provide innovative and meaningful care in our respite services.

“We are also proud that many of our staff have been with us since the service opened in 2005, and as an organisation we regularly celebrate them and their professionalism.

“All of the My Life services are rooted in the area, and we are delighted to be part of the local community.”

The Minister was greeted at Anam Chara by respite resident John Morgan from Point Road in Dundalk, who also made a welcoming speech.

“I don’t call the people at My Life carers, I call them friends, that’s how they make you feel. The staff are great, the food is great and the craic is better,” said John.

Minister Rabbitte spent time with the residents and spoke glowingly about Anam Chara’s and My Life.

“I am very impressed with not just the facilities, but the ethos behind the service – the emphasis on providing a home-from-home and on socialising, and of having experiences and activities to enrich the lives of everyone here.

“There is a committed team here, who, through their dedication, will help each individual who attends here to achieve his or her highest level of independence by seeing, supporting and encouraging the person.”

People who use the newly-opened My Life respite service for people with physical and sensory disabilities in Louth and Meath pictured with Minister of State for Disability Anne Rabbitte TD, Louth TDs Ged Nash and Ruairí Ó Murchú and Senator Erin McGreehan.