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Christmas Cheer

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Go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXh7JR9oKVE for some Christmas fun !

Watch "Children in Charge" RTE documentary on child carers

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Comfort Keepers carer Shauna Bingham with client Mary Staunton on RTE documentary on care "Children in Charge" Comfort Keepers carer Shauna Bingham talks to RTEs "Children in Charge", a documentary about the responsibilites of being a child family carer. From Shaunas family experience she then choose a career as a carer with Comfort Keepers. One of Shaunas clients Mary Staunton talks to RTE about the care work Shauna does and how it benefits her. "Children in Charge" after 9 o'clock news Tuesday 23rd of November and available from Wednesday on the RTE Real Player. See http://www.rte.ie/player/# and click on the A to Z box, then click on C and there you will find the documentary to watch.

Pamela Duncan on Elder Abuse Study

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PAMELA DUNCAN MORE THAN 18,000 older people have experienced some form of abuse or neglect since they turned 65, the first Irish study on the prevalence of elder abuse has indicated.

The findings of the National Study of Elder Abuse and Neglect found that over 10,000 people aged over 65 had experienced some form of abuse or neglect in the past 12 months, with adult children the most likely perpetrators.

The study, carried out by the UCD-based National Centre for the Protection of older people, interviewed 2,021 people over 65. It then extrapolated the percentage of older people who had experienced abuse to the general population.

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Abuse and Neglect of Older People in Ireland Summary Report - Link

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Abuse and Neglect of Older People in Ireland

Ireland's "grey army" fearful of IMF gird for pain

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By Lorraine Turner DUBLIN Nov 17 (Reuters) - Ireland's elderly are fearful of what an IMF bailout package might mean for them and warned on Wednesday they would protest against any cut to their pensions.

Members of the so-called "grey army", whose demonstrations two years ago forcing the government to drop plans to means-test a medical allowance, said they should not be penalised under a possible external aid package prompted years of reckless bank lending.

"I've seen bad times in the 50s and 80s but I've never seen anything like the despair now, and it's not just pensioners," said Nick Corish, 86, at a meeting organised by charity Age Action Ireland to discuss the next austerity budget.

The government says it does not need an emergency assistance programme from the euro zone and the International Monetary Fund but it is in talks with the EU Commission and the IMF about measures to stabilise its state-guaranteed banks. [ID:nLDE6AG004]

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The 97 year old iPad lover, by Anna Carey

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alt Lots of us like new technology, but few of us would imagine we’d still be embracing it in our 90s. Perhaps it’s to be expected from a man like Robert Reidy, a former test pilot who is celebrating his birthday today

IN HIS COMFORTABLE kitchen in Malahide, in north Co Dublin, Robert Reidy is showing me his new iPad. “Have you seen one of these before?” he asks. “You can do all sorts of things with it.” There’s nothing unusual about this scene – apart from the fact that today is Reidy’s 97th birthday. While many people half his age are reluctant to engage with new technology, Reidy has embraced it.

Reidy first went online in the late 1990s, when his daughter Joan, who lives with him, got him one of the first iMac computers. He soon became adept at navigating the internet, but when his iMac became outdated and his replacement Mac proved more complicated, Joan decided to get him a lightweight iPad.

Reidy has been getting to know his new toy – he has been reading the Irish Times letters page on it – but finds some aspects hard to get used to. Like many much younger users, he find the touchscreen keyboard frustrating. “One of its drawbacks is that it’s terribly sensitive, and if you let your fingers stray things will happen that you didn’t want to happen. It’s not so easy to type on.” But he does appreciate the way he can change the size of the text by drawing his fingers across the screen. “That is good, so that I can read with my failing eyesight.”

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Standards in care homes cannot be discretionary

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OPINION: Blaming Hiqa for facility closures or delayed openings ignores the State’s failures to invest, writes DESMOND O’NEILL

A MAJOR part of the sense of security when flying, even with the ever-increasing economies of budget airlines, is the reassurance of a robust regulatory framework. So, can you imagine the reaction if the safety guidelines and regulations for the maintenance for jet aircraft were relaxed due to the recession?

This might seem far-fetched, yet in another complex area of life, there are disturbing signs of pressure to dilute the regulatory framework for care standards in Irish nursing homes. Whether by misattributing blame for the delay in opening the new public nursing home in Dingle or the closure of Loughloe public nursing home in Athlone, or by the recent statement of the nursing homes representative organisation about the standards of the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa),

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Alzheimer's charity calls for national strategy on dementia

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PAMELA DUNCAN

THE COST of clearing the backlog of those on an Alzheimer’s charity’s waiting list will cost the State €4.7 million while doing nothing will cost more than 2½ times that amount, an Oireachtas committee has heard.

The Alzheimer Society of Ireland estimates that, if additional funding is not provided to clear its waiting list of just under 1,000 people, 30 per cent of these would suffer “caregiver burnout”.

This would lead to 300 people with dementia being admitted to long-term care or repeat admissions to AE or acute care, with a cost to the State of €12 million.

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Elderly Poverty Rate 'Underestimated'

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EOIN BURKE-KENNEDY

Poverty among elderly people in Ireland may be underestimated by the measures used to assess deprivation, according to a report.

The study, Measured or Missed? Poverty and Deprivation among Older People in a Changing Ireland , raised concerns about the complexity of how poverty is measured in Ireland and their effectiveness at picking up the situation of older people.

The research was prepared by Prof Mary Daly of Queen’s University for Older & Bolder, an alliance of groups that represent and work with older people.

It highlighted there were two primary measures of poverty and deprivation among the Irish population as a whole - the relative poverty measure and the consistent poverty measure.

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Standards in Care Homes Cannot be Discretionary

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OPINION: Blaming Hiqa for facility closures or delayed openings ignores the State’s failures to invest, writes DESMOND O’NEILL

A MAJOR part of the sense of security when flying, even with the ever-increasing economies of budget airlines, is the reassurance of a robust regulatory framework. So, can you imagine the reaction if the safety guidelines and regulations for the maintenance for jet aircraft were relaxed due to the recession?

This might seem far-fetched, yet in another complex area of life, there are disturbing signs of pressure to dilute the regulatory framework for care standards in Irish nursing homes. Whether by misattributing blame for the delay in opening the new public nursing home in Dingle or the closure of Loughloe public nursing home in Athlone, or by the recent statement of the nursing homes

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Burnout Risk for Alzheimer's Carers

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FAMILY carers for people with Alzheimer’s are in danger of burning out as the waiting list for a home care service has peaked at 1,000 people since last year, the Alzheimer Society of Ireland has warned.

The society said that any further cuts to services in the coming budget will see some of the 44,000 people living with dementia and their 50,000 carers left without even basic support through community services.

The charity worked with health economist Dominic Trepel of University of Limerick who presented a report at its budget submission launch yesterday, outlining the economic case for urgent investment in dementia services in Ireland.

The new report, An economic perspective of dementia care in Ireland, points out the critical need for more community services.

Mr Trepel said the over reliance on carers in Ireland meant burnout represented a significant and immediate threat to healthcare costs.

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Delivering Better Lives for Elderly People

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A new inspection regime for nursing homes is changing the culture of care for their residents, reports JAMIE SMYTH, Social Affairs Correspondent

THE NEW standards and inspection regime introduced for nursing homes last year is improving standards of care and reducing the use of physical restraints for elderly residents, says Ireland’s chief inspector.

Just over a year after inspections began, Dr Marion Witton, chief inspector of social services at the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa), says there is evidence of a changing culture of care because of the standards. She also dismisses criticism that higher standards imposed by the authority are causing nursing homes to close due to the cost of compliance.

“When considering standards at nursing homes you really have to ask yourself the question: is this the type of nursing home you would want to spend your final years in?” says Witton, who admits she was shocked by some of the poor standards and practices she came across when she began working at the authority’s inspectorate.

“In other countries such as Britain or Sweden, nursing homes are set up as a home from home and there is an enabling environment. People generally have their own rooms with en suite facilities and there is a communal area for people to meet and chat,” she says.

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Pictures from Positive aging week in Comfort Keepers

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Positive aging week Positive aging week Positive aging week

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Overview Report – Caring and Post Caring in Europe

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Overview Report – Caring and Post Caring in Europe

Dementia 'most significant health crisis'

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Dementia will cost the world's economy almost €460 billion this year, a major new report has warned.

Dementia currently affects over 35,000 people in Ireland. Alzheimer's disease is the most common type. Dementia is a progressive and irreversible disease of the brain, symptoms of which can include chronic memory loss, language deterioration and personality change.

According to the World Alzheimer Report 2010, the worldwide costs of dementia this year will exceed 1% of global GDP (gross domestic product). It states that if dementia care was a country, it would be the world's 18th largest economy.

The report, which was issued by Alzheimer's Disease International (ADI) to mark World Alzheimer's Day

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Positive Aging Week

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To celebrate Positive Aging Week Comfort Keepers are holding a series of events throughout the country. Please find attached poster with information on individual areas and poster on all areas.

Events include Workshops on Planning Activities for Older Adults, Yoga and Nutrition for Older Adults, Free blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar monitoring, afternoon tea and more!

All events are free and open to the public. Please contact the relevant office or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for more information.

85 year old Billy crosses the line first

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By Sean Keane WHEN 85-year-old Billy Dalton from the city's Freshford Road completed the Nore Swim from Greensbridge to John's Bridge on Saturday, it marked his first time competing in the event since 1954.

This time he was first over the line (veterans were left go early) , with his son Denis keeping him company. He made light of his achievement in finishing the 500-metre course in quick time and said that he had no difficulty doing so. He did say that the cold had set in over the last 100 metres and that was the bit he found a little tiring. He was one of those who did the swim without the aid of a wet suit. His secret is that he swims several evenings a week in the Newpark Hotel leisure centre while continuing to work at the Chancellor's Mills on the Freshford Road.

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Charity says unregulated home help is putting elderly at risk

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Charity says unregulated home help is putting elderly at risk PAMELA DUNCAN NEITHER THE Department of Health nor the HSE knows how many unregulated private home help companies are operating in the State.

This is despite warnings from charities representing the elderly which say another Leas Cross could be happening within elderly people’s homes but a lack of regulation means there is no way to know.

Dermot Kirwan of Friends of the Elderly says in recent years there has been a proliferation of home help companies as well as smaller operations providing services as “nixers” within the community. These provide services for the elderly in their own homes.

He said the influx of private companies offering this

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Dublin North West Carer Coffee & Cake Morning

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Dublin North West Carer Coffee & Cake Morning

Julie and Grace meet with some of their fantastic team of carers in Dublin North East for coffee and cake.

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The Irish 'research lady' who helped win the Nobel

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77 Year Old Dubliner Anne Kernan was involved in the Cern research that won a Nobel Prize, yet her work is little known here now, writes JOANNE HUNT

‘RESEARCH LADY” is the chosen e-mail nickname of 77-year-old Anne Kernan, but as one of the physicists whose work led to a discovery that won a Nobel Prize, it is a title that’s far too modest.

She was part of the team that found two sub-atomic particles, the Z and W bosons, research that captured the 1984 Nobel Prize in physics for team leader Carlo Rubbia and his partner Simon van der Meer. The two were physicists at the Cern high-energy research centre near Geneva where Kernan spent the best part of her research career.

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HSE in talks over transfer of dementia patients

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HSE in talks over transfer of dementia patients Concerns have been raised over the shrinking of a unit for elderly patients at Cherry Orchard Hospital, Ballyfermot, writes STEPHEN MANGAN

A HSE official told a campaign group last week that talks with management at Cherry Orchard Hospital in Ballyfermot, Dublin, would be held to resolve the issue of transferring elderly patients.

About 50 people gathered outside the HSE offices near Heuston Station in Dublin last Thursday to protest against reduced services in the Laurel unit, which caters for 17 people with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

A number of protesters met an official, who said he would be meeting local management at the hospital to see if a compromise could be reached which would be satisfactory to both sides.

Eight patients in the Laurel unit will be transferred to vacant beds around the hospital in the coming weeks, while the remaining nine patients will stay in the unit.

Members of the Save Cherry Orchard Hospital campaign are calling on the HSE to prevent the transfer of patients because, they say, it will eventually lead to the unit’s permanent closure. Families of patients in the unit have complained to hospital management, as they fear that moving their loved ones out of their present environment will cause distress.

Hospital management has yet to confirm which patients will be transferred from the unit. However, it has notified patients’ relatives of its intention to hold a focus group tomorrow.

Marie Dodrill, whose husband has lived in the unit for the past seven months, said she would not give hospital management permission to transfer her husband because it would have a “severe effect on his health”.

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St James's tops HSE performance survey

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St James's tops HSE performance survey

ST JAMES’S Hospital in Dublin has been found by the HSE to be the best performing hospital in the country, while University College Hospital in Galway has been found to be the worst.

The findings will be set out this week in an assessment of the country’s main hospitals, based on a number of criteria such as access to services for patients and on how beds are used. The assessments did not measure clinical outcomes for patients.

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Crossing the line

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It is all too easy to cross the line between caring for the elderly and bullying, writes Patricia Redlich:

My mother Mary Cribbon was buried this time last year -- on June 16 to be precise -- aged almost 92. Looking back, I now realise that the last five years of her life constituted a masterclass on how to tread that tight-rope between care and bullying, as osteoporosis slowly curtailed her capacity to roam free. Tough-minded, clear-headed, and stubborn to the last, she taught me a truly humbling lesson. Love and abuse can be uncomfortably close bed-fellows.

Close family members are most likely to be the abusers, the statistics tell us. That figures. The overwhelming majority of elderly choose to live out their lives in their own homes. Family, therefore, invariably plays a pivotal role, despite being part of a mobile workforce, in a marketplace that is international, where women, too, have careers, and time is tight. Even where close relatives are not the principal carers -- and professional home help services have moved in to fill that gap -- family is still central to all major decisions in the older person's life. Elder abuse is a domestic affair. That is the challenge.

Three years ago, the HSE bravely attempted to meet that challenge by setting up an elder abuse service, staffed with case workers who intervene, when asked.

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Taoiseach insists sale will protect...

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TAOISEACH Brian Cowen last night insisted the VHI is being sold to keep health cover cheap for older people despite criticism that the move is part of a drive to privatise state assets.

And the Government could no longer be a player and regulator in the health insurance market, Health Minister Mary Harney said.

Both maintained the sale was to protect 'risk equalisation' -- where other providers paid the VHI compensation because it had an older customer base.

Risk equalisation was previously struck down as anti-competitive by the Supreme Court because the VHI is backed by the State.

Mr Cowen also said the sale would make "as certain as humanly possible" that 'community rating' -- where older and younger people paid the same for insurance regardless of age -- would be secure.

Around 2.2 million people have private healthcare, with 340,000 of those over 60.

VHI covers 94pc of insured over-80s, 89pc of over-70s and 77pc of over-60s.

"Many of them have been paying for health insurance all their adult lives," Mr Cowen said. "They have a fair expectation that the health insurance market will not be

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You're never too old to Google

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You're never to old to engage online. That's the message from Google Ireland's Social Action Group which has been hosting Internet classes for over 200 people aged 50 and upwards all this week at its European Headquarters in Dublin.

This week local community groups from St. Andrew's Resource Centre, Pearse Street, Liberties College, The Larkin Centre and Nascadh Community Development Programme have been having one to one Internet tuition with Google employees who've shown pensioners and older folk how to use the Internet, send email and get to grips with social networking websites like Skype, Facebook and Twitter.

In this photo, Google's Joe Cummiskey, from Donnybrook, encourages Mary Downes (80), from East Wall, to surf online.

Google Ireland's Social Action Group develops community outreach programmes for its employees to increase the search giant's involvement in the local community.

"Using the Internet is something that today's generation has grown up with so it's very easy for them," said Sinead Gibney of Google Ireland's Social Action Group.

"We set up this week of classes as we want as many people of all ages to use the Internet. Some people don't

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