Dublin publicans’ charity initiative with ALONE hits €50k

 

Pic Maxwells/Julien Behal No Fee 9/03/17 Dublin publicans have launched a new charity initiative with ALONE to mark the bicentenary of the Licensed Vintners Association (LVA).  The publicans have an ambition to raise €200,000 for ALONE’s ‘Befriending Services’. ALONE, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, is a national organisation that supports older people to age at home by providing community engagement programmes and other services to address social isolation among the elderly. The charity depends on public support to carry out its work with 100% of all donations going directly to the services it provides. Pictured launching the initiative at The Two Sister’s Pub in Terenure are Noel Murphy (Kilmainham) centre Annette Egan (Ranelagh) on right taking the ‘selfie’ Anne McAuley (Terenure) and Tony McCarthy from Kilmainham.  Pic Maxwells/No Fee
Pic Maxwells/Julien Behal
No Fee 9/03/17
Dublin publicans have launched a new charity initiative with ALONE to mark the bicentenary of the Licensed Vintners Association (LVA). The publicans have an ambition to raise €200,000 for ALONE’s ‘Befriending Services’. ALONE, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, is a national organisation that supports older people to age at home by providing community engagement programmes and other services to address social isolation among the elderly. The charity depends on public support to carry out its work with 100% of all donations going directly to the services it provides. Pictured launching the initiative at The Two Sister’s Pub in Terenure are Noel Murphy (Kilmainham) centre
Annette Egan (Ranelagh) on right taking the ‘selfie’ Anne McAuley (Terenure) and Tony McCarthy from Kilmainham.
Pic Maxwells/No Fee

Ambition is to raise €200k to mark 200 years of the Licensed Vintners Association

Friday June 2 2017.  The Licensed Vintners Association (LVA), which represents Dublin publicans, has said it is delighted with the public response to its community initiative with ALONE.

The LVA has confirmed that in just a couple of months €50,000 has been raised for ALONE, the charity which supports older people by enabling them to age in their own homes.

To support the partnership, Guinness has brewed a limited edition beer, ‘Dublin Amber Pale Ale’. A joint donation of fifty cent for each pint of ‘Dublin Amber’ sold in participating pubs will be made to ALONE by Guinness and the publican to support the expansion of the charity’s services.

One of the aims of the partnership is to enhance the lives of older people by introducing them to volunteer ‘Befrienders’ who will provide them with much needed companionship. It’s hoped to raise €200,000 for the charity through the partnership which was put in place to mark the LVA’s bicentenary.

The CEO of the LVA, Donall O’Keeffe said members were reporting a very positive response from the public in support of the initiative and to Dublin Amber. “Our members wanted to give something back to the community to mark the bicentenary and that really seems to have struck a chord with the public. Community is at the heart of the Dublin pub and that is why we chose to partner with ALONE on this initiative.”

“To date we have collectively raised €50,000 for ALONE and we would like to wholeheartedly thank the public for supporting this initiative. Given that Dublin Amber has only been available for a couple of months, we are delighted with the funds raised so far and will be relying on the public to help us reach our ambitious target of €200,000 by the autumn.”

Sean Moynihan, CEO of ALONE, said the charity was thrilled with the progress. “It’s really great to see that this initiative has gained such traction with Dublin’s publicans and their customers. We would like to thank them for their ongoing support. ALONE depends on public support with 100% of all donations going directly to providing services to older people in need. The funds raised will help us to reach out to the 1 in 10 older people who experience chronic loneliness.”

As it happens ALONE, is also marking a significant birthday this year – its 40th. Founded in 1977, ALONE is a national organisation which supports older people living in their homes by providing community engagement programmes and other services to address social isolation among the elderly.

‘Dublin Amber’ is available on draught in hundreds of pubs across Dublin for a limited time.

Ends

 

 

 

“A lot has changed since 1977 but ALONE still needed today more than ever”

Charity celebrates 40th Anniversary at event in Dublin City Hall

Repro Free: Dublin, 24th May 2017. ALONE, the charity that supports older people to age at home, celebrated its 40th anniversary at an event hosted by the Lord Mayor of Dublin Brendan Carr in City Hall, Dublin, on Tuesday evening. Picture Jason Clarke
Repro Free: Dublin, 24th May 2017. ALONE, the charity that supports older people to age at home, celebrated its 40th anniversary at an event hosted by the Lord Mayor of Dublin Brendan Carr in City Hall, Dublin, on Tuesday evening. Picture Jason Clarke

Dublin, 24th May 2017  ALONE, the charity that supports older people to age at home, celebrated its 40th anniversary at an event hosted by the Lord Mayor of Dublin Brendan Carr in City Hall, Dublin, last night.

Speaking at the event Sean Moynihan, CEO of ALONE, said: “A lot has changed since 1977, but ALONE is still needed today more than ever. Tonight is a celebration of ALONE and the people involved in the charity’s journey so far who have never forgotten its ethos – to support the isolated older people in our society.”

 

Moynihan continued: “As an organisation that works with older people, we see firsthand the issues they face, whether it is loneliness, a lack of homecare support, or housing. Many older people think that by asking for help and support they are bothering people, we want them to know that they deserve more than a little help and we are here to support them.”

 

Lord Mayor of Dublin Brendan Carr, speaking at the event, commented: “Dublin Fireman Willie Bermingham founded ALONE in 1977 as a response to the desperate issues faced by older people in the city. Today, ALONE continues to act as a lifeline to older people throughout Ireland who find themselves isolated and alone. I am delighted to be hosting this event tonight in celebration of such a significant charity.”

 

Journalist Valerie Cox acted as MC for the evening and interviewed the ‘Stars of ALONE’ which included; older people who use ALONE’s services and volunteers of the charity.

 

Leo Kelly – older person who avails of ALONE’s services

Leo Kelly has been linked in with ALONE’s befriending services for more than 5 years. In 2005, Leo retired and soon found himself becoming socially isolated. Since being visited by ALONE volunteer Eamonn, Leo has managed to regain confidence. He socialises more often, has discontinued the Meals on Wheels service he previously availed off, and has given up smoking. ALONE’s befriending service has been a “lifeline” for Leo.

 

Ann McAuley – older person who avails of ALONE’s services

Ann had been happily married 56 years when she lost her husband in 2009. Although Ann has a close relationship with her children, her two daughters live abroad and her son lives a few hours drive away. A handyman who often visited to fix up her home approached Ann one day and told her about ALONE’s Befriending Service. The next day she called ALONE: To this day I still tell people it’s the best phone call I’ve ever made.” Ann was matched with Collette through the befriending service, and the pair get on like a house on fire.

 

Sister Mary Dempsey – ALONE Befriending Volunteer

Sister Mary Dempsey is a 90 year old nun who has been volunteering with ALONE for nearly 40 years. The first man she began visiting was reluctant to let her in: “He’d come to the door and say “you’ve seen me, you’ve done what they asked you to do and goodbye!” Sr. Mary persevered and was eventually let in to the house – she continued visiting him for 22 years. Since then, Sr. Mary has befriended numerous older people and continues to volunteer today.

 

Jeremy Chapman – ALONE Befriending Volunteer & Board Member

Jeremy is a 52 year old mature student studying Social Work in Trinity College Dublin. Jeremy joined ALONE 12 years ago as a befriending volunteer when he was a stay at home Dad to his two children, now grown up. Jeremy feels very strongly that many older people are being forced into nursing homes often before it’s really necessary, due to a lack of adequate home supports. Jeremy now sits on the board of ALONE and continues to visit a number of older people in the Dublin area, including the first lady he befriended.

 

For those who have concerns about their own wellbeing, or the wellbeing of a vulnerable older person in the community, ALONE can be contacted on (01) 679 1032. To make a donation and help aid ALONE’s work visit www.alone.ie

Two Sisters Pub raise €1000 for ALONE through Good Friday Market

twosisterschequepresentation2

Dublin, 10th May 2017 The Two Sisters Pub, in Terenure, raised €1000 for ALONE, the charity that supports older people to age at home, through a Spring Market which was held in the pub on Good Friday. The Spring Market consisted of a variety of stalls by local craftspeople and artisan producers. Proceeds from all teas and coffees sold on the day went directly to ALONE.

Commenting on the donation, Sean Moynihan, CEO of ALONE, said, “I would like to thank Deirdre in the Two Sisters for this fantastic donation to ALONE. The Two Sisters has been very supportive to ALONE through this fundraising event and through their promotion of the Dublin Amber Pale Ale, in which fifty cent from each pint goes to ALONE.”

Deirdre Devitt, of the Two Sisters Pub, commented, “We are delighted to be able to support the important work that ALONE does in helping older people to stay in their homes and remain active in the local community.”

The Two Sisters Pub, as a member of the Licensed Vintners Association (LVA), is currently offering a limited edition beer, ‘Dublin Amber Pale Ale’, brewed by Guinness. A joint donation of fifty cent for each pint of ‘Dublin Amber’ sold in participating pubs will be made to ALONE by Guinness and the publican to support the expansion of ALONE’s Befriending Service. The LVA launched this charity initiative as part of its bicentenary this year and hopes to raise €200,000 for ALONE.

Minister McEntee launches new ALONE partnership with Dundalk Institute of Technology

"This is all about collaboration", Minister Helen McEntee (pictured here with ALONE team).
“This is all about collaboration”, Minister Helen McEntee (pictured here with ALONE team).

Minister for Older People, Helen McEntee TD, today announced a new strategic partnership between ALONE, and Netwell CASALA, the research centre for ageing at Duncdalk Institute of Technology (DkIT). The partnership will see the expansion of existing social care and community support services for older people in the North East.

Speaking at the launch in the DkIT campus today. Minister McEntee, said “this important new partnership will see ALONE coordinate and grow existing social care programmes developed by Netwell CASALA, in collaboration with the HSE and Louth County Council. This is very good news for older people in the North East. These programmes include Support Coordination, Befriending, social clubs, events and outings along with the Good Morning Louth befriending telephone service, Dundalk Men’s Shed, the cinema club and seagull club.”

Minister McEntee highlighted the importance of developing a full range of services and supports to allow older people to age well at home and to remain connected to their community, “Support services in the community are vitally important to empower and help older people to age well at home. I would like to congratulate the team here at DkIT, along with those involved from the HSE and Louth County Council, for their remarkable work in developing this comprehensive social and care support programme in the North East. This new partnership with ALONE will enhance the supports and services offered to older people in the community and ensure that more older people in the area have access to these services.”

Sean Moynihan, CEO of ALONE, commented, “We are delighted to be expanding our services to older people in the North East in our 40th anniversary year. ALONE hopes to bring greater sustainability and resources to the existing services for older people in the North East in line with our national strategy for supporting older people to age at home.”

Ann Campbell, President of DkIT, added, “Research into ageing is a one of our key programmes at DkIT so I am delighted that this project, which started in DkIT, has flourished to offer vital supports to so many older people in our community. I’m even more delighted that ALONE can now expand on these services and continue to support older people in the North East well into the future.”

Rodd Bond, Head of Netwell Casala, commented, “As an active participant in the partnership, Netwell CASALA will continue to be involved in these social programmes but with greater emphasis on researching and testing assistive technology to support the health and wellbeing of older people. We started this social support programme through the Great Northern Haven assisted living project ten years ago and quickly realised that whilst technology is set to play a big part in our ability to age well at home, it is the social interactions and support from the community which older people and their families need in order to really age in the best way possible. It is fantastic that ALONE, who have such expertise in the area of supporting older people to age at home, is taking our services and growing them to support more and more older people throughout the North East.”

Since 2007, over 1,500 individual older people in North Louth have been supported Netwell CASALA services with a further 300 older people receiving a weekly phone call from the Good Morning Louth phone service.

Support services for older people include: befriending visits, Good Morning Louth befriending telephone service, social support services, housing services and social clubs, events and outings. Referrals can be made with the permission of the older person by a family member, friend, neighbour, HSE or Gardaí.

If you would like any further details on the support services offered to older people in the North East, please go to www.alone.ie or phone Pat Kerins on 042 93 70361. For further information on the Netwell CASALA research programmes please go to www.netwellcasala.org.

Lisney host Charity Auction in aid of ALONE

Lisney Charity Auction in aid of ALONE, the charity that supports older people to age at home, in Farrier & Draper on South William Street on Thursday 27th April
Lisney Charity Auction in aid of ALONE, the charity that supports older people to age at home, in Farrier & Draper on South William Street on Thursday 27th April

Ireland’s leading estate agents assist in supporting older people to age at home

21st April 2017 Lisney, the leading estate agents in Ireland, are hosting an auction in aid of ALONE, the charity that supports older people to age at home, in Farrier & Draper on South William Street on Thursday 27th April at 6.30pm. The auction, which is part of a new charity partnership between Lisney and ALONE, is free to all members of the public but guest list places must be reserved by emailing marketing@lisney.com.

Items for auction on the night include a signed Dublin GAA Football jersey, VIP tickets to Taste of Dublin, Weekend Longitude tickets, an iPad and tickets to the Ireland VS South Africa November Series Rugby game on 12th November.

As part of the ALONE partnership Lisney staff will be holding further fundraising events in aid of ALONE throughout the year including a Tidy Up of ALONE Housing on 21st July and the assembling and distribution of 500 hampers at Christmas. The company will also support employees in becoming ALONE befriending volunteers.

Commenting on the new partnership with Lisney, Sean Moynihan, CEO of ALONE, said, “I would like to thank Lisney for choosing ALONE as their charity partner this year. The auction is an exciting event to launch their new partnership and the funds raised will make a huge difference to ALONE and the work that we do.”

Ross Shorten, Director at Lisney, added, ““We are really pleased to announce ALONE as our charity partner. Lisney has over 100 staff and we aim to be a true partner to ALONE this year by volunteering our time and our professional skills including offering ALONE strategic advice on their supportive housing portfolio. ALONE will also be the sole beneficiary of all our fundraising efforts in 2017.”

2017 marks 40 years since ALONE was founded by Willie Bermingham. Since then the charity has supported thousands of older people to age at home. ALONE works with those who have issues with loneliness and social isolation, lack of services, poor health, poverty, homelessness or housing. ALONE provides Support Coordination, Housing with Support, Befriending and Campaigning services to hundreds of older people nationwide every week. ALONE’s services are quality approved and are delivered 365 days a year.

ALONE engages in government consultation on new home care model

PRESS RELEASE

 13 charities collaborate on home care submission to Department of Health

Dublin, 24th April 2017  ALONE, the charity that supports older people to age at home, has aligned with 12 other charities and advocacy groups in response to a new review on the regulation and financing of homecare by the Health Research Board that was published by Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People, Helen McEntee TD earlier this month.

ALONE and the other NGOs, which include Age Action, Alzheimer Society of Ireland and MS Ireland among others, have worked together on a submission paper that outlines the regulations and standards they believe should be incorporated into the new statutory home care scheme as proposed by Minister McEntee.

Sean Moynihan, CEO of ALONE, commented, “A coordinated approach is required from all agencies and advocacy groups involved in enabling home care. We commend the Minister on establishing a dedicated unit within the Department of Health to progress this work as a matter of urgency.”

He continued, “We look forward to being part of the consultation process and the implementation of this new national home care model. It is vitally important that NGO’s, recipients of care, carers and social services are all engaged in the process. All four countries included in the Health Research Board’s recent report involved NGOs, private home care providers and family carers in significant decision making in the setting up and operation of their national home care model.”

The submission paper submitted to the Department of Health by the alliance outlines the key elements they believe should be incorporated into this proposed home care scheme. The group has requested that the scheme provides a robust set of processes that will assure quality of care for those who receive home care such as the assurance that home care staff are paid and supported appropriately and that a clear inspections and complaints policy is in place.

Sean Moynihan added, “A robust home care scheme should interact with pre-existing policies around health and wellbeing, the dementia strategy, the carers’ strategy, the national positive ageing strategy, the ratification of the CRPD and the national neuro-rehabilitation strategy. As the healthcare sector focuses on maintaining and building health and resilience, home care can provide rehabilitation and avert the requirement for higher levels of support.”

He concluded, “As part of the consultation process we hope to explore types of assessments which could be used to understand how best to allocate services in a timely and equitable way as there does not appear to be clarity about how this currently happens. By placing the scheme on a statutory footing, it should provide people with care as needed, regardless of age, geography or economic circumstances.”

Other elements highlighted in the submission paper are the necessity for funding mechanisms that will ensure that a robust home care scheme can be delivered year-on-year, accessible to those who would most benefit from it.

For those who have concerns about their own wellbeing, or the wellbeing of a vulnerable older person in their community, ALONE can be contacted on (01) 679 1032 or visit www.alone.ie

Read the submission here.

Consultation process for the establishment of a Statutory Homecare Scheme

Discussion Document on the Consultation Process for the Establishment of a Statutory Homecare Scheme
19 April 2017

Introduction
Organisations from across the NGO sector welcome the Minister for Mental Health and Older People’s announcement of a consultation process on establishing a new statutory homecare scheme. The Minister told the Dáil that she wishes to run a consultation process that “will allow all those who have views on this topic to have their say, including older people themselves, their families and health care workers”. This discussion document has been prepared to assist with that process.
It is a stated objective of successive governments that people would, where possible, continue to age within their own homes and communities. As acknowledged by the Minister, this process is about ensuring that this objective could be supported with a statutory scheme, thereby keeping more people at home.
The NGOs that have contributed to this paper (listed at the end) wish to support the Minister and the Department in creating a robust consultation process that will provide a context for any policy or legislative work and will also encourage people who receive care, as well as those who deliver care, to have their voices heard.

The issues which should be addressed by submissions are as follows:

A Definition of Homecare

The consultation process must tackle the issue of what constitutes homecare, identifying what services are within the remit of the scheme. It needs to find agreement on what structures need to be in place to ensure that homecare can provide a range of services so that what is appropriate to the person is covered and, at the same time, is sustainable and can be delivered in the person’s home.

Current inconsistency of homecare delivery

Homecare, as it is delivered across the country, is not consistent. For example, different systems and eligibility criteria are in place to access home help services in different parts of the country, while homecare as a whole is not regulated. There is a need to define the parameters of what can be constituted homecare under any legal and regulatory frameworks and the consultation should include identifying the appropriate body or mechanism to regulate homecare in Ireland. A definition of homecare must capture the diverse range of needs that are being met by homecare workers.
For example, people with dementia may require social supports; for people with mobility issues, their needs may include support with everyday activities but not with what is defined as ‘activities of daily living’. There is also a need to clarify how homecare interacts with Personal Assistant Services, a service available to those receiving Disability Services but not Older Persons’ Services.

The place of technology in homecare
Technological supports in homecare also need consideration. Technology cannot replace careworkers. The potential for a strong complementary relationship, however, means that it must be considered both in terms of medical technology such as diagnostics and medical monitoring as well as assistive technology which can support people with various activities, particularly people who have mobility difficulties. These could include, for example, telecare and telehealth, environmental controls, voice prompts etc.

Core Principles Underpinning Homecare
The scheme, as proposed by the Minister, will put homecare on a statutory footing. Clarity is needed about the principles that underpin the delivery of the scheme. Potentially, the topics that could be discussed within these core principles are:

Person-centred care
As with all other care services, a person-centred approach should form the basis of homecare. This is about recognising the needs and preferences of individuals who make up the diverse population known as ‘people in receipt of homecare’. Consultation can tease out appropriate equivalent processes for encouraging the discovery of people’s needs and wants in a homecare setting, akin to what is promoted under Theme 1 of the HIQA National Standards for Residential Care Settings for Older People in Ireland.
There is also a need to support the mechanisms around assisted decision-making / co-decision making under the 2015 legislation and for redress and advocacy mechanisms that are properly resourced for those times when care does not meet the recipient’s own wishes.

Regularising carework
In order for a homecare scheme to work effectively, it will need to tackle employment within the sector and value the workers who deliver care. The issues within this sector include: the lack of a homecare workers register, working hours, zero-hours contracts, lack of career development structures and labour inspections.
If someone is receiving care from family members, either on a regular or irregular basis, this should not exclude the recipient from homecare packages. The 2012 National Carers Strategy identifies Family Carers as key care partners. Both Family Carers and the providers of paid homecare need to invest time in building relationships with each other that are characterised by consultation, respect and ongoing communication.
There are also a number of issues faced by migrant workers in carework which also require consideration, such as discrimination, legal status and communication barriers.

Security of the person
For those receiving care at home, there is a need to promote the security of the person in receipt of care. By the very nature that someone is receiving care, they are restricted in some way which may mean that they have difficulty ensuring their right to security, leaving them open to violence, abuse or neglect. While the vetting of careworkers is vital, it is also about ensuring that an advocacy mechanism is available for anyone using homecare. Careworkers also need to be able to work safely.

Homecare across the life-course
The consultation process needs to consider how homecare is delivered across the life-course rather than there being material differences between homecare delivered under Disability Services and Older People’s Services.

Quality of Care, Inspection and Supervision
The consultation must consider how best to provide a robust set of processes that will assure quality of care for those who receive homecare. For example, homecare is not amenable to the same inspection processes which prevail in residential and day care settings. Inspection models used internationally need to be reviewed.

Assuring quality in careworkers
The consultation can explore how quality can be assured. Quality of care requires properly trained and certified careworkers who have received appropriate training to provide care in the home, rather than exclusively in acute or institutional settings. Workers also need to be supported and supervised to operate knowledgably in a person-centred context where they understand the recipients of care. Careworkers also need to have sufficient time to deliver agreed care in a context of trust and have the skills to be able to deliver different types of care, e.g. end of life care.

Inspection and complaints
The consultation can also helpfully explore the mechanisms whereby homecare can be inspected and a formal complaints procedure is put in place.

Integration with Public Policy and Social Supports
The consultation can usefully explore how a robust homecare scheme should interact with pre-existing policy around: health and wellbeing, the National Dementia Strategy, the National Carers’ Strategy, the National Positive Ageing Strategy, ratification of the CRPD and the National Neurorehabilitation Strategy. As the health sector reorients itself with a focus on maintaining and building health and resilience, homecare can provide reablement and rehabilitation. Responsive and flexible homecare can support with reducing admissions to both residential care and to acute care, with associated savings in expenditure.
The consultation can also consider how the scheme will interact with other schemes such as the NHSS, home adaptation grants and with various other services and supports such as acute services, primary care, Section 38 and 39 NGOs providing direct services, as well as age friendly initiatives in local authorities. It should also consider other consultations and strategies such, for example, the Personalised Budgets Taskforce.

Access and Availability
By placing the scheme on a statutory footing, it should provide people with care as needed, regardless of age, geography or economic circumstances.
The consultation process is well-placed to explore how access and availability currently works in practice. It can consider how homecare hours are currently allocated and what changes people would like to see. It would also provide an opportunity to explore types of assessments which could be used (both medical and social) to understand how best to allocate services in a timely and equitable way. There does not appear to be clarity about how this currently happens.
A discussion about how recipients are prioritised and the potential to provide low-level supports as a preventative or a reablement measure for those at risk of needing much higher levels of support would also provide useful information to a consultation. It is also helpful to discuss timeliness of care, particularly in the context of palliative care.
There should also be consideration about how people become aware of care options. Information must not simply be available; it is critical that is accessible and easily understood, and that people are facilitated to make choices in that regard.

Funding Mechanisms
The consultation process must explore funding mechanisms that will ensure that a robust homecare scheme can be delivered year-on-year, accessible to those who would most benefit from it. It may also prove useful to consider, in the context of defining homecare services and the principles underpinning it, to seek opinion on how it can best be funded and, where tendering mechanisms are in use, what criteria might be prioritised in order to fund better rather than merely cheaper services.

Creating a Wide and Inclusive Consultation Process
While best practice around consultation processes will be in place, such as a published terms of reference, a timescale and clarity about what will not be addressed, the consultation process needs, according to the Minister, to “allow all those who have views on this topic to have their say”.

In order to facilitate this, it is important to engage the following groups:

Recipients of care
This would be people of all ages who receive care at home, which would include those with physical or sensory disabilities, those with intellectual disabilities or mental health issues and people living with dementia.

Family Carers
This would include family, neighbours and friends who provide significant levels of care at home.

Careworkers
This would include paid careworkers including those who work in private companies or social enterprises as well as careworkers in public settings. It would also mean including those from migrant communities working as carerworkers.

Those providing complementary services
This would include those who provide the services that can enhance the provision of the scheme and are providing complementary services such as befriending, social activities, meals-on-wheels.
Those providing medical and social services
This would be PHNs, social workers, occupational therapists, SLT’s, specialist nurses (catheter nurses for example), home phlebotomists, as well as medical gerontologists

In order to achieve such a diverse consultation process, it requires materials and mechanisms that are appropriate to the diverse audiences that need them.

Hard-to-reach audiences

People with disabilities, cognitive impairments, dementia life-limiting illnesses and professional carers, migrant workers and family carers can be hard to reach, but their views and insights, are vital in shaping a robust homecare scheme.

Consultative fora are useful policy processes as they bring people together specifically to discuss a point of policy. In order for this to work for the audiences listed above, however, special provisions may need to be put in place to make sure that they can participate fully. This may inform when and how the process takes place, and may include, the provision of transport, translation services etc.

Other possible approaches may be the commissioning of a parallel research process that will undertake in-depth interviews with a diverse range of people who are in receipt of homecare and with people who provide care.

Providing a context
In consultation processes, it is important to gather the practical experiences of those who are set to benefit from a scheme. It is, however, vital that people understand the context into which they are providing their insight and experiences.
The process should provide material in formats that are suitable for the audiences that will be using them. For example, a Plain English version of the Health Research Board report which will explore different international models of providing homecare should be made available as part of the process. A low-literacy publication explaining the process would also be useful for people with intellectual disabilities or people delivering care who do not have English as their first language.
It should also provide sufficient detail to give people an overview of support needs and costs currently met, unmet and projected, broken down by geographical areas , informed by OECD data and other reputable international providers of research and policy analysis.

Feedback mechanisms
Even with a number of consultation fora, the process will still need to presume that many people receiving care or providing care will not be in a position to attend events to provide feedback. This will require other feedback mechanisms such as a telephone / Skype process and the circulation of a survey on homecare.

Following-up
The process needs to have a dissemination mechanism to follow up with those who provided their insight and experiences to the process. While providing a satisfying affirmation to participants, it is also an ethical approach to participation in a discovery process such as this. It is also a mechanism to prove to people that their participation can have an influence on how policy is shaped.

We also believe that once the consultation has been concluded there is a valuable role that we, as organisations representing homecare clients, Family Carers and careworkers, can play in working with the Department to shape the final design of the proposed homecare scheme and we would like to put on the record our willingness to play our part.

List of NGOs who Contributed to this Paper:
Active Ageing Partnership, Age Action, Age & Opportunity, Alone, Alzheimer Society of Ireland, Care Alliance Ireland, Disability Federation of Ireland, Family Carers Ireland, Irish Association of Social Workers, Irish Hospice Association, Migrant Right Centre of Ireland, MS Ireland, Sage / Third Age

ALONE welcomes progress on ageing at home and right to homecare

11th April 2017 ALONE, the charity that supports older people to age at home, has welcomed a new review on the regulation and financing of homecare but would like further information on means testing older people for this service. The Health Research Board’s review of the regulation and financing of homecare in Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and Scotland was published today by Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People, Helen McEntee TD.

Sean Moynihan, CEO of ALONE, commented, “We welcome this research as we believe that there needs to be consistency in homecare services across the country with real and transparent regulations and standards. It is necessary that homecare staff are paid and supported appropriately for effective supports at home to work. Further investment in technology is also required to develop new ways in assisting older people to remain in their own homes.”

He continued, “While we recognise that there may be a case for some form of means testing, we strongly advise that any means testing is mindful of the existing stresses on older people’s finances and that the testing framework does not disadvantage older people further. Currently all HSE home care packages are provided free, without a means test, after an older person’s needs are assessed. This report shows that older people in Germany and the Netherlands are paying compulsory long-term care insurance and are also liable for means-adjusted co-payments, while in Scotland the threshold for access to professional home care has been raised and only people with the highest level of needs are cared for.”

According to The Healthy and Positive Ageing Initiative’s 2016 report 48% of older people reported that they experience some or extreme difficulty in maintaining their home. Older people need both physical and social supports to age at home as well as care supports. Through its Support Coordination, Befriending and Housing with Support services, ALONE provides vital supports to older people to assist them in remaining at home. They also help older people to navigate the system and access the services that they require. Often older people do not know what services and entitlements are there for them.

Sean Moynihan continued, “A robust homecare scheme should interact with pre-existing policies around health and wellbeing, the dementia strategy, the carers’ strategy, the national positive ageing strategy, the ratification of the CRPD and the national neuro-rehabilitation strategy. As the healthcare sector focuses on maintaining and building health and resilience, homecare can provide rehabilitation and avert the requirement for higher levels of support.”

Moynihan concluded, “A coordinated approach is required from all government department and agencies in enabling older people to age at home. Home care supports need to be factored into a holistic approach to support older people to age at home and to reduce the amount of older people being moved into nursing homes unnecessarily. We commend the Minister on establishing a dedicated unit within the Department of Health to progress this work as a matter of urgency and we look forward to working with her during the consultation process. This report is an important step in developing a new statutory homecare scheme in Ireland.”

For those who have concerns about their own wellbeing, or the wellbeing of a vulnerable older person in their community, ALONE can be contacted on (01) 679 1032 or visit www.alone.ie

ALONE welcomes inaugural National Positive Ageing Forum and commends Minister McEntee for giving a voice to the Aging Sector

30th March 2017 ALONE, the charity that supports older people to age at home, has commended the first ever National Positive Ageing Forum which was launched today by Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People, Helen McEntee T.D., as part of the implementation of the National Positive Ageing Strategy.

Sean Moynihan, CEO of ALONE, speaking at the launch commented, “ALONE welcomes the fact that the government is listening to the organisations working on a day-to-day basis with older people as part of the implementation of the National Positive Ageing Strategy (NPAS). All of the Ageing Sector organisations are aligned in their recommendations to the government, so it is fantastic that we finally have the opportunity to come together and engage with the relevant Government Departments on the key issues facing older people in Ireland.”

He continued, “On an individual and community level, we really need to look at how we want to take care of our older population. We need to keep planning and looking long term every year, as Ireland’s older population is set to reach 1.4million over the next 30 years. With the older demographic growing at such an unprecedented rate, it is necessary to have government backing for our solutions.”

Moynihan concluded, “We would like to thank Minister McEntee for initiating this forum and allowing the voices of the Ageing Sector to be heard. In responding to the current needs and demographic change a cross government department, agency and sectoral approach is essential. By coming together we will truly make Ireland a great place in which to be and grow old.”

ALONE works with older people who have issues with loneliness and social isolation, lack of services, poor health, poverty, homelessness or housing. ALONE provides Support Coordination, Housing with Support, Befriending and Campaigning services to over 1,000 older people nationwide every week.

For those who have concerns about their own wellbeing, or the wellbeing of a vulnerable older person in their community, ALONE can be contacted on (01) 679 1032 or visit www.alone.ie

ALONE & HSE launch New Support Coordination Services for Older People in North Dublin

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23rd March 2017  A new Support Coordination Service for older people in the Dublin North City and County area was launched in Swords County Hall today. ALONE, the charity that supports older people to age at home, has partnered with the HSE to expand its support services to all older people living in these communities.

The ALONE Support Coordination Service aims to respond to and address any issues facing older people, which are impacting on their ability to remain living independently in their own home. The charity’s Support Coordinators assist older people who live in a range of accommodation types; privately owned, private rented or social housing homes.

Sean Moynihan, CEO of ALONE, added, “Repeated studies have demonstrated that ageing at home is the first choice of older people and their families. Our Support Coordination Service addresses issues faced by older people living in their own homes and works with statutory bodies, community organisation and other service providers to ensure that the older people get what they deserve. This can include anything from access to clothing allowances to addressing unsafe living environments, coordinating home adaption’s or linking older people in with befriending services in their area.”

Mary Walshe, Head of Social Care HSE, commented, “Support coordination services in the community are vitally important to empower and help older people to age well at home. It is important that older people feel supported in receiving the care they need and to live in a place of their own choosing. This new partnership between ALONE and the HSE will enhance the supports and services offered to older people in the community and ensure that all older people in the area have access to these services.”

For those who have concerns about their own wellbeing, or the wellbeing of a vulnerable older person in their community, ALONE can be contacted on (01) 679 1032 or visit www.alone.ie