i-CARE Entry: Song Performed and Written by Tracy Culleton

I am Tracy and I work as a carer for older people with Bluebird Care in Tipperary. I got my qualifications to become a carer with my mother; we both did the course in Limerick Senior College together. Little did I know when I was doing the course how rewarding the actual work would be. I also learned to play guitar in Limerick a couple of years before that as I studied languages in UL for four years.

Well, with my skills altogether to date, I am happy to say that I wrote a song as a thank you to each and every person that I have had the privilege of looking after. They each have enriched me I have grown in confidence and courage in my work. They are true gems of our society and we should continue to care for them to the best of our ability.

They lived through so much more than I and some of the perks of the job is that they chat to me about old remedies and recipes, they share brown bread recipes and one for example that is  in season now, is an elderflower cordial recipe. One woman made unreal apple jelly and I am so lucky to have met all of these people. They pass on the different tips and techniques in arts and crafts and they highlight the therapeutic benefits of traditional crafts and gardening, and they talk frequently of whats going on in the garden and seasonal ideas. At the moment I am knitting a cable-knit sweater, I was given the pattern and encouraged  by one of the nuns in the convent where I provide care. And I like the way she asks me every week how I’m getting on and I can ask her questions about the pattern. She says I look like I’m going to take off when I’m knitting.

I really have connected with so many of my interests again since the people I work and care for encourage me and chat about their experiences. In my free time I’m back gardening again, growing tomatoes and spuds and I’m painting – scenery pictures, and I’m doing a bit of stone carving and of course my knitting. I even brought my guitar to the home of one of the ladies I care for and I played Garth Brooks for her. She knew the song and she really enjoyed me singing. But when she asked for Daniel O’ Donnell I had to put it away!

The management at Bluebird Care are happy to see – alongside the high standards of care provided and strict adherence to the care plans – also a nurturing relationship between staff and client and as a Bluebird staff member I feel that I myself am healing, growing and blossoming as a person, little by little.  I am confident that the work I do is good for the client, I have support of talking about any concerns that arise with Bluebird Care management, but over the time you get to know the client and you kind of make friends with them.

One of my client’s used to say: “Be like water, no matter how tiny the trickle it will eventually get somewhere”.  

“Happiness and a loving fulfilled life is not the destination it is the journey”- Glen Hansard, The Frames.

Heres a song of thanks I wrote for everyone of the people I’ve met through my work as a carer. Go raibh maith agaibh go léir.

We Get So Much Back – written and performed by Tracy Culleton (June2015 for i-Care campaign)


Care Manager Required in Longford/Westmeath


The Care Manager reports directly to the Director of Bluebird Care and manages a core team, both office-based and community-based. He/she is responsible for the management of the office, developing and managing a care team, assessing new customers and participating in the growth and development of the business.

Job Description

The successful applicant will be responsible for:

  • Customer assessments and reviews.
  • Staff management, recruitment, training and development.
  • Liaising with stakeholders.
  • Implementing and maintaining quality controls.
  • The day-to-day management of the office.
  • Developing new business and preparing customer and company reports.

Essential Criteria

  • Applicants should have a nursing qualification or another professional qualification in a health-related subject.
  • Minimum of 4-5 years working in management in the health sector.
  • Experience in management and good IT skills are also essential.
  • Applicants must be a car owner/driver and have a flexible approach to working hours.

Specialised Skills and Attributes

  • Excellent communication skills
  • Good planning and organisational skills
  • Experience of financial management
  • Sound understanding of good care principles
  • Skills in assessment and care planning
  • Negotiation skills
  • Ability to cope in a high-pressure environment
  • Even-tempered and patient
  • Ability to cope with change
  • Ability to display empathy and warmth

ALONE calls for reduced reliance on nursing homes

The charity Alone, which provides services for older people in need, has said that a third of people currently in nursing homes could live at home if they were supported to do so.

Launching its ‘Home First’ campaign, Alone says while the Government supports the concept of people ageing at home, sufficient funds are not being invested to make it happen.

It also states that the number of Ireland’s older generation in nursing homes is 35% greater than the EU average.

Alone says many people are ending up in nursing homes too soon.

The charity blames cuts to home-help funding and housing adaption grants in the past five years for the number of older people who are no longer able to live at home.

It says the current model of prioritising nursing home care is not sustainable and has called on the Government to look at options of supportive housing and extra care housing so that older people can age in their communities.

CEO of Alone Sean Moynihan has said his organisation wants to start the debate on how to implement the National Ageing Strategy, Government policy and Health Service Executive policy to help older people to age at home.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland Mr Moynihan said older people in nursing homes in Ireland live 50% longer than people in nursing homes in the UK.

He said we are “probably pushing older people into nursing homes before their time”, probably because the HSE and doctors do not have any other choice as the services in the community do not exist to support older people.

Mr Moynihan said he believed the number of homecare packages had dropped by around 2,000 in the last four years and this, combined with cuts to home help and frontline services, means it is time for people to start looking at cheaper, more effective options of supporting people at home.

He said it would make economic sense for some of the Fair Deal money to be drawn down and spent on supports at home.

Instead of spending €1,600 a week on a nursing home, maybe some of that money could be drawn down to purchase services in your own home for €500 or €600, he said.

Source: RTE News


Age Watch – 37 Stats on Older People Revealed

Many Western countries are facing a ‘greying’ population, as both health standards and life expectancy rise. But what does that mean for older people today, and just how well do they live?

Bluebird Care has developed a fascinating infographic on Age Watch – 37 Stats on Older People Revealed. It shows a comprehensive analysis from Ireland, the United Kingdom and United States, when it comes to health status, income security, transport standards, and so much more.