Gary Troy’s Caregiver Champion story:
My mother, Angela Mary Troy, was born and raised in the heart of Dublin city near the four courts. She was a seamstress and dressmaker by trade and worked in Arnott's, the famous department store in town. She started performing on stage very young, and it wasn't long before she was the lead in most of the musicals at the famous Matthew Hall in Dublin. It was there that my father met her when he was at a show one evening. In fact, he never had the courage to go up and meet her the first five or six times he saw her haha. Yes he was smitten and starstruck.
My mother went on to be the lead singer in most of the big bands in Ireland and England at the time. Besides singing, dancing and acting, she is also very funny and very witty...always the queen of the party.
In 2013, my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and our world changed indefinitely. Prior to her diagnosis, she would visit the US from Dublin just about twice a year on holidays and she became very familiar with all my friends in the city. She became like a mom to many in my circle.
While having lunch with a couple of my actor friends in the city one day they said to me that they noticed that my mother was repeating herself, so I didn't think anything of it, but lo and behold it was the beginning of the journey...and a new script in our lives.
My family was presented with the immense challenge of what to do because my mother wanted to be with her family in the United States - my father passed away many years ago and my brother and I live in NYC metro area, so she didn't have any close relatives in Ireland anymore. However, her full medical coverage and the whole system basically in Ireland is much more adaptable and easier and takes care of those living with Alzheimer's and dementia with open arms. So, after discussing it, my brother and I decided that we would sacrifice her full health coverage and care in Ireland and bring her over to the states (New York) without any medical coverage so that she could be close to us. It became our responsibility to not only financially take care of her with the doctors and medications but to take care of her physically. This was very difficult for me personally because I am not really trained in that department as I say I'm just an actor.
After years of many countless letters, phone calls and emails - from my brother and myself and also from my mother's doctors - to Medicaid and many, many rejections for medical coverage in the States, we finally got accepted earlier this year. Even though she was legally in the US and has a Green Card, the system is broken and it was so very difficult to get anyone to respond. Earlier this year, we finally received word that she was now approved to receive coverage. My mother was then eligible to go in to an assisted-living location in Greenwich, Connecticut. There she gets all the care, medical and interactions etc. and of course we visit regularly.
It was a huge strain on me, personally, banging my head against the wall and getting no results for several years trying to get her coverage and also it is now a strain knowing that she is in a place that probably will be her last home. However, we do take her out quite often , and it's just a very challenging situation as I'm sure many people are aware of.
But at the end of the day, I am very very thankful that she has everything she needs right now.