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George Hook Back’s i-CARE Campaign to Find Ireland’s Top Bluebird Care Carers

Carers tell their caring stories in poems, videos and even in a song!

George Hook is supporting a campaign to find Bluebird Care’s most inspiring carers. The initiative called i-CARE asks the company’s 1,500 carers one question – ‘why do you love to care?’  €22,000 in prizes will be distributed to 60 Bluebird Care carers nationwide in what Bluebird Care is calling – the year of the carer.

Bluebird Care provides homecare to people of all ages and varying degrees of ability and has offices nationwide.

The i-CARE entries are inspiring people on social media also, with one story from Kilkenny going viral on Facebook engaging 15,000 people.  Operations Director with Bluebird Care, Eddie O’Toole says the stories behind the carers are pretty remarkable.

“We’ve had poems, stories, videos, photos and even a song especially written for the campaign. We are dedicating 2015 to our care staff around the country and have developed a number of initiative in their honour this year, one of them being i-CARE.”

Follow the Bluebird Care carer stories on Facebook and Twitter by searching the hashtag #myiCareStory or find them on bluebirdcare.ie. Carers are asked to submit their entries in any content format and the response has been very creative.  Here are some examples.

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We’ve even had a song as an entry!

“We get so much back” is a song specially written and performed by Tracy Culleton who works with Bluebird Care Tipperary/East Cork.

Photo Gallery: EngAGEment Event in Killarney

 

An EngAGEment with Bluebird Care is a nationwide roadshow series looking at issues affecting older people in modern Ireland. Below are some photographs taken at the latest EngAGEment event at the Malton Hotel, Killarney.

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Photo Gallery: EngAGEment Event in Portlaoise

 

An EngAGEment with Bluebird Care is a nationwide roadshow series looking at issues affecting older people in modern Ireland. Below are some photographs taken at the latest EngAGEment event in Portlaoise.

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“Recycled Teenagers” in Kerry Debate Growing Old in Ireland

80 people joined Broadcaster George Hook in The Malton Hotel, Killarney to debate growing old in Ireland. With our population rising and figures projecting 800,000 people over the age of 65 by 2021, Bluebird Care hosted an event to discuss planning for an ageing population.

Photos by Don McMonagle

View all photos from the event here

VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS

 

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The crowd at An EngAGEment with Bluebird Care in The Malton Hotel Killarney

The main issues debated were community policing with Sgt. Jim Foley and Diarmuid Cronin of Muintir Na Tire; Social engagement and active ageing with Peter Kavanagh, Active Retirement Ireland and Philip O’Reilly, Respond Housing; and the impact of austerity on older people by Eamon Timmins of Age Action and Susie Hall from the Alliance of Retired Public Servants.

Some of the key issues raised were:

  • Middle class families are being hurt by austerity and are facing homelessness and are leaning on elderly parents for financial, childcare and even housing supports according to Philip O’Reilly of Respond Housing.
  • When you turn 65 your input into society should not end – age is merely a number and social interaction is vital after retirement. Studies show that you are 4-7 times more likely to have a stroke or a heart attack in the first year after retirement so social interaction and activity is vital. Studies have also shown that minding your mental health and keeping your brain active can reduce incidences of dementia according to Peter Kavanagh of Active Retirement Ireland.
  • Age Action reported that the Government are considering altering the Free Travel Scheme for over 65’s in this year’s budget. Age Action are lobbying Government on this trying to prevent any negative changes.
  • Susie Hall of the Alliance of Retired Public Servants said the Government have hit the most vulnerable in society with their austerity measures. Older people should not have to suffer as they have spent a lifetime paying taxes and giving service to the state.
  • Diarmuid Cronin of Muintir na Tire said older people should look at all risks relating to home security. He also encouraged them to consider getting a social alarm that is monitored 24/7/365.
  • Sgt. Jim Foley spoke about simple ways to protect your home like securing windows and doors, cutting overhanging trees and hedging and lighting up your house and outdoors to prevent intruders.
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Eamon Timmins, Age Action & Susie Hall, Retired Public Servants Association

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Diarmuid Cronin, Muintir na Tire and Sgt Jim Foley, Crime Prevention Officer discuss community policing and home security with George Hook

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Philip O’Reilly, Respond Housing and Peter Kavanagh Active Retirement Ireland discuss social inclusion, active ageing and housing with George Hook

One audience member, 93 year old Bernie McMonagle declared, “In Kerry we don’t like to be referred to as senior citizens, we rather ‘recycled teenagers.’ This set the positive tone for the evening which will feature in an online video shared on bluebirdcare.ie.

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Gerard Mannix and Bernie McMonagle with George Hook