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Granny (87) who has diabetes and dementia defies coronavirus statistics


Kathleen Bates (87)

Kathleen Bates (87)

Kathleen Bates (87)

A young mum has spoken of her joy after her 87-year-old grandmother defied the statistics to beat Covid-19.

The deadly disease is most lethal for over-65s and when beloved Comber grandma Kathleen Bates was diagnosed, her family feared the worst.

Despite the dire survival rates for patients in her age bracket, the former Shankill Road woman was given the all-clear on May 21 at Comber Care Home.

Her granddaughter Liz Crooks (21) told Sunday Life: "To see my nanny overcome the illness to me is like a beacon of hope, that's why I wanted to speak out.

"It hit us hard, it really did. We tried to be positive but with all the statistics that older people, especially ones with health issues, are most likely to pass because of this horrible disease, it was very difficult.

"All we hear is that the old die and every day someone else has passed. Now it's time for the good news.

"I'm so glad that she can show others that the statistics are just that. They aren't true for absolutely everyone.

"She was glad to get 'home' back to the care home, but in all honesty I don't know if she really knew exactly what was going on as she has dementia.

"She probably thought it was treatment for her diabetes which I guess it was. She was in the Ulster Hospital and at one point they wanted to transfer her to Down for beds. Although we couldn't visit her it was a worry, but her blood sugars stayed unstable so she wasn't transferred.

"I really appreciate attention being focused on a positive story, I get that scary and negative stuff is to grab our attention but I think we all need a little hope right now."

Mum-of-two Liz says when Kathleen was first diagnosed, the family were deeply concerned for her welfare.

"I was actually sitting in Ulster Hospital myself when I got a call from a family member telling me that my nanny had tested positive for Covid-19.


Kathleen Bates (87) and Liz Crooks (21)

Kathleen Bates (87) and Liz Crooks (21)

Kathleen Bates (87) and Liz Crooks (21)

"I recently got diagnosed with FND (functional neurological disorder) which affected my speech so I couldn't even talk on the phone, just moan that I understood. I was really scared for her, my nanny is a very fragile woman.

"She's 87 years old and has diabetes along with dementia. I remember saying to my partner at the start of lockdown I really hope my nanny lives past this virus, as we wouldn't have been able to have a proper funeral.

"We haven't seen her in over 12 weeks now as the care home shut down quicker than most places.

"I think it brought us closer as a family, though. We contacted each other more to see how she was doing and how each other was coping.

"Nanny Bates has always been our rock, she's the stubborn one, the one that didn't move out of her home until it became unsafe for her to live there, the one that didn't move during protests living in the Shankill years ago.

"It's hard to say what she really thought as she is confused most days with her dementia but the last time I saw her, the nurses said she had been very tired but chirpy.

"Unfortunately Kathleen isn't one to know anything about technology so video calling wasn't possible, you could barely get her on a landline when she did live at home.

"We had to call the Comber Care Home for updates on her wellbeing and they were happy to talk to you about it all in-depth."

Despite the delight around Nanny Bates' return to health, Ms Crooks is sceptical about the continued easing of lockdown.

"I can understand the want for restrictions to be eased, it's so hard not being able to do anything, go anywhere or see who you want.

"However, we don't want a second wave. It could be more deadly and last longer the second time around, so we need to wait a little longer for numbers to fall more."

Belfast Telegraph