Pictured launching the Healthy Clare Calendar 2024 is the Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council, Cllr Joe Cooney, with (left to right) Bernadette Haugh, Senior Executive Officer, Rural and Community Development, Clare County Council, and Dena McGrath, Healthy Clare Coordinator, Clare County Council. Photo: Paul Corey.

A NATIONAL scale-up of the Regional Healthy Age Friendly homes programme sees a new appointment come into effect for Co Clare in January.

By Adam Maloney

Dena McGrath who is the current co-ordinator of Healthy Clare from January 8th will be the local co-ordinator for Clare in the Regional Healthy Age Friendly homes programme. This is part of a national scale-up of the programme.

The Regional Healthy Age Friendly Homes Programme provides extra care for elders, to aid them live a better and more superior life, as the Programme will assist the elders with certain adaptions and gadgets.

Karen Fennessy is the current Regional Programme manager for the Mid-West region and briefed a recent sitting of the Social Development SPC of Clare County Council. She explained, “I would manage the Midwest Region which consists of Clare, (North) Tipperary, and Limerick. One of my roles is to establish referral pathways onto our programme. We work on the basis of referrals coming into us so then the co-ordinators take those referrals and they go out and visit people in their homes. And there is lots of different referral pathways, I mean most older people can just refer themselves onto the programme, but obviously we do link in with other services like the H.S.E, the Public Health’s Nurse, Local Authority Staff, Community Groups, GPs as well and we’re also making our elected members aware of this programme”.

Rural Ireland is typically “where you would have a lack of supports,” she admitted. “There is four key objectives of the Healthy Age Friendly Homes Programme, so the first is that it needs to enable older people to continue living in their homes or in a home most suited to their needs for as long as possible. The second objective is we want people to live with a sense of independence and autonomy. So there effectively making and continuing their own decisions about how they live their lives. We want them to feel part of their community as well and be linked in with the community and the last objective is that we’re trying to support the avoidance of early or premature admission into long term residential care, so we’re talking about nursing homes”.

There are currently 44 co-ordinators functioning nationally, across nine counties, Clare excluded, she confirmed. “The qualification is that they’re aged 65 or over, and that’s essentially it. So, they could actually be fit and well and living at home and they’re also the people that we want to reach because it is important that older people kind of plan for the longer term, so people think now about, ok, well I’m fit and well in my home but what about when a time comes where I can’t climb the stairs more easily, should I think about having my home adapted to get like a downstairs bathroom or wet room put in”.

Karen stated that the feedback received from supplementary counties have been fairly similar, in which the elders gain a greater sense of independence and security from the programme.

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Subscribe for just €3 per month

If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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