No place like home….


Home care is becoming increasingly popular as a much preferred option to a nursing home. Aine O’Connor examines some of the services available

Knowing that you need more support just to live your daily life can be a shock that takes months to resolve or a crippling realisation that defies your understanding and presents anxieties from moment to moment that you’ve never had to cope with before.

Getting a definitive diagnosis, or spotting a bizarre change in a loved one’s usual behaviour can be the start of an Alice in Wonderland adventure you’d prefer was kept as a charming children’s entertainment, rather than a set of challenges you’ve to add to your daily bag of tricks.

Finding your feet in the maze of private and public healthcare, in addition to that diagnosis and its implications for your family’s wellbeing and progress can be daunting, and particularly difficult when it’s a disease or out-of-the-blue tragic accident you’re hoping to learn to live with.

At first glance there’s a mind-numbing array of services available to you that you must whittle away at to find the combination of assistance that best suits your needs. Homecare providers throughout the country can give you practical help and advice in the bugbears that accompany our Golden Years, such as limited mobility or lesser physical strength and their new compensations, right up to managing medical issues that interfere with tasks we took for granted before, such as washing, cleaning, or accomplishing the maintenance jobs around the house and garden.

Of the more established names in home care assistance around Ireland, some of the bigger franchises that have become so because of experience over the years will have specific familiarity with the particular set of physical, spiritual and financial issues that recur in pensioners’ needs. They will also have access to the pathways you’ll need to consider for sudden complications that you may have to factor in to your routine if someone else in the family needs care too.

Bluebird Care Ireland’s list of questions you should consider before choosing the team that’s right for your circumstances are available in a handy, downloadable app for your smartphone. It takes in everything about the complexity of your family’s needs, such as having two or three layers of special needs to accommodate. Say for instance, you’re working and your regular interaction with your children and grandchildren needs the flexibility you’ve carefully built in over the years to be maintained. You’ll need a team that can slip in and out of your family life without restricting your ability to cope. Bluebird’s expertise has distilled the issues to five simple areas:

  1. Identify the primary issues affecting you. Perhaps you need pre or post-operative care to slot into a routine that already caters to the care of adults or children with physical, sensory or intellectual disabiliy.
  2. Has the company you’re considering got all its infrastructure properly set up? Apart from the prerequisites of a caring, friendly nature, how can you judge their competencies?
  3. Can you readily question and satisfy yourself that the company is offering the best value for money your circumstances demand?
  4. Your circumstances will fluctuate to include other services they may provide, so how flexible can your relationship with them be over time?
  5. Will you have a clear access to not just the carer who visits and helps your loved one in their home, but to the carer’s superviser and the accounts department when you need to discuss any snags along the line, and to the right person at the right time in an emergency.

Have a look at Bluebird’s  Safe at Home series of seminars that are free to attend and offer the bonus of time spent together with others in your situation. Often run in conjunction with a Gards’ representative to offer tips on keeping your security habits up to date, you could also find newer gadgets more suited to your immediate needs that you can test for ease of use over the course of the day.

The Safe at Home seminars are conducted sporadically throughout the country, but when burglary or something like a new fear of answering the door becomes a topic of conversation for your family member, it’s a day trip to consider taking your concerned parent to. They get reminders and reassurances of their actual security and you both find out how to use the new gadget at the same time. Not to mention the enjoyment to be had in spending the time together on the journey there and back.

Comfortkeepers approach to providing assistance at home has been developed through experience to have all of those concerns addressed from the start. From the moment you get in touch with one of their offices throughout the country to see what service will best suit your situation, you will be able to rely on their knowledge and skills. You can make an appointment to see one of their Client Care Managers – who’s either from a nursing or social work background – and they can come out to the home to assess the right level of care, and outline what tasks or activities you can expect the carer to complete.

It depends on where you start the journey, so to speak. You could be managing very well in your own home but an expected stay in hospital doesn’t have the outcome you’d prefer and you may need the services of a physio as well as a new layer of help in ordinary housekeeping. Comfort Keepers Home Care can first meet with your family either in your home or in hospital before you get back there, to decide what’s needed next.

The Client Care Manager will be happy to get as clear a picture as possible how you accomplish your current level of independence during that first meeting, assess the level of change in that routine and begin the process of finding the best carer for those circumstances.

Along the same lines as the other trusted nationwide networks of home care teams, the Comfort Keepers’ policy is to keep the person and their individualised care plan at the heart of everything they do, from the assistance they provide through the carer while in your home, to helping with securing the entitlements that may be available either through the health service or the revenue’s tax relief.

The flexibility built in to your own family’s coping strategies can be complemented by the regular reviews of the level of changing needs. You may be concerned about getting the operation you need in hospital having seen the news reports of how there were now more than 6,300 people awaiting operations in January 2015 in comparison to 183 this time last year. Or you may be anxious about being caught in a sort of twilight zone between hospital and nursing home and fret over what it will cost.

It also emerged that while the waiting time involved in being admittted to a nursing home after hospital care had fallen to just under three months for 1,196 of those on the waiting list, it was expected to rise to five months’ wait later this year.

Social Care Minister Kathleen Lynch told the Joint Oreachtas Committee on Health and Children in February that a review of the nursing home scheme will look at different ways to fund care for those already in it, and those due to receive it. There were 22,151 existing residents whose care is state subsidised, another 745 who were awaiting transfer to a nursing home, and 100 new patients a week being added to the waiting list.

When you’re assessing what level of home care assistance is best for you, look for things that underpin good communications between everyone concerned, be it you and your children, and you and your homecare team, such as the Comfort Keepers’ telemonitoring scheme and the care journal, both of which are done from your home.

The security of knowing you’re the main focus of a carer’s day or week through your care plan is one of the bonuses of having a familiar person do the needful on an ongoing basis once you get home from hospital or convalescent care.


Respite Care

Respite care is accessed in an integrated schedule or care plan when your microclimate or family eco-system is reaching the end of its elasticity. That’s the theory. The actual, nitty-gritty of practical, reliable help isn’t so easy to encapsulate, but either you or your dependent loved one may be eligible and you should first look to your current provider for help with your options.

Another well-established network of care in your home may be your first point of call. Called Home Instead Senior Care, it doesn’t just cater to seniors. Its nationwide network of homecare teams also have experience in respite care for all age groups.

As a spokesperson for Home Instead Senior Care told Senior Times: ‘Women, especially, are trying to balance the care of their parents with the responsibilities of parenting, a full-time job, community and volunteer activities and more.’

When you as a man are the family caregiver you’ll equally feel the anxiety that you could “eventually run out of hours in the day,” or see the stress become too great and the balance broken. Building a relationship with an experienced organization that’s dedicated to the implementation of your loved ones’ needs, or to use sporting terms, can play to their strengths can be the first action you need to take. Getting in touch with Home Instead Senior Care can be your gateway to connecting with local voluntary services, or to sharing the time you volunteer with your family member with others who have the same concerns as you. At the very least connecting with Home Instead Senior Care, either through downloadable apps on their website, or keeping abreast of the issues affecting pensioners with hints and tips published on their social media platforms, you can gradually find the balance of help and independence that suits you now.






Helping older people to live independently

Home Instead Senior Care is Ireland’s leading home care provider, helping older people live a happy, healthy and independent life at home.

The organisation tries to match older people and professional caregivers who have similar interests and hobbies to create a more personal, and relationship-based home care service. The focus is placed more on the individual rather than the basic home care tasks.


“A client-caregiver relationship is a long-term commitment and if the client is not completely content we will substitute the caregiver. We want to help older people live at home and maintain their independence, so it is of the utmost importance to us that the right caregiver has been selected. To us, home care is personal,” says Ed Murphy, CEO of Home Instead Senior Care.


For more information on home care services or to apply for a role as a caregiver visit or call 1890 930 013.





Promoting independent living at home and in the community


By 2021 there will be 800,000 people over the age of 65 in Ireland. We are an ageing population but we are also a healthier population and many of us can expect to live well into our 80s and 90s.


But as the years pass we may need more support to help us live independently. Studies have shown that people want to remain at home for as long as possible. And today this can be achieved.


Homecare in Ireland is a growing market as more people choose to live at home to maintain their independence. Bluebird Care provides care across Ireland for people of all ages and varying degrees of ability.


There are also very many people who have a life-long disability or experience a life-changing event that requires long-term care. Bluebird Care’s range of specialised care and support services enables individuals and families chooose a care plan that is right for them whether on a short-term or long-term basis.


Operations Director with Blubird Care Eddie O’Toole says, “The appeal of Bluebird Care is that the services provided can make a real and positive contribution to people’s lives.


“People can be slow to make vital decisions about care, but there is nothing to fear. In fact our experience shows that it has very positive outcomes and dramatically improves family situations. We offer a diverse range of services from older persons care, care of children with complex needs and disability and dementia care.


“We also help people recuperate after surgery or illness. Homecare is a realistic and cost effective alternative to nursing home care and there are significant tax reliefs available from it also.”


Bluebird Care invests significantly in quality standards, education and training, technology and partnerships with other organisations.  This was recognised when they won the 2014 Q Mark Business Group of the Year award. They are also the first franchised homecare company in Ireland to have all its offices Q Mark certified.


For more information on their broad range of services visit




Comfort Keepers: Home Care Provider of the Year

Paul Kavanagh, Sales and Marketing Department comments: ‘Comfort Keepers is the only home care provider to be awarded the ISO 9001, Healthmark and Q Mark, certifications for our adherence to the highest standards of care provision. We are also the proud winners of the Q Mark Home Care Provider of the Year award.

‘Comfort Keepers is ranked No.1 for Enhanced Home Care packages by HSE in all areas that we cover.


‘At Comfort Keepers our mission is to provide your loved one with the highest quality of life that is achievable. We treat each of our clients with the respect and dignity they deserve, as though we were caring for a member of our own family’.

Comfort Keepers is a founder member of Home and Community Care Ireland (HCCI).
Comfort Keepers, Block B, 3rd Floor, Joyce’s Court, Talbot Street, Dublin 1.

Phone   +353 1 892 1314. Mobile        +353 86 836 2544



All-round home care for all ages


Myhomecare provides all types of homecare from vulnerable newborns to adults requiring round-the-clock nursing care at home, with offices in Dublin, Cork, Galway & Dundalk they provide these services on a nationwide basis. “At Myhomecare we  take a holistic approach to caring for people in their own home, because that is the model of care that works best, our home care services are designed to promote independent living at home and we are available 24 hours a day to support our clients” according to Blathnait NiMhurchu National Homecare Manager.

“A lot of people don’t realise how the home-care system works and that they may be entitled to get some care hours which may be funded by the HSE or other organisations.”

“Our Home care packages are very cost-effective and we simplify the entire process by working with our clients every step of the way. We will make contact with the relevant services to help you assess your entitlements. If someone has a need for home-care, there is support available depending on their circumstances, maybe additional financial support. But it’s important that they make contact with us,” adds Blathnait.

To find out how Myhomecare can help you live independently at home -Freephone 1800 400 900 W:




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