Dr Mark Hogan, Clinical Neuropsychologist P&S Disability service, Geraldine McMennamin MS & P&S admin, Catherine Peoples MS keyworker, Amanda Bonner Project Officer P&S service, Anita Gallagher Mgr.
The HSE Donegal Physical & Sensory Disability Service in conjunction with MS Ireland recently hosted a Carers Day in the Villa Rose Hotel, Ballybofey. Twenty eight people attended and overall the feedback was very positive.
This followed on from a similar very successful inaugural Carers day which was held last year in Letterkenny.
Being a carer can be both challenging and rewarding. It can be a role that evolves over a period of time as a person becomes more dependant or a person can suddenly find themselves in the role following a family member undergoing an accident or trauma. A caring role can be done out of a sense of duty or love or both. Whatever the factors that have influenced why a person is a carer one thing is clear is that carers need to also to take care of themselves or make space to allow others to support them. It is in this regard that we have come to see today as a priority.
The aim of the day is to for carers to take time out, away from their caring role, to focus on themselves and also to have an enjoyable and fun experience. Feedback from last year’s event was taken into account when organising the day for this year.
Shane Bradley DCIL, Clare Doherty Cara house, representative from Citizens Information
Dr Mark Hogan a Clinical Neuropsychologist, with the Physical and Sensory Disability Service gave a session on how stress and burnout can develop when providing care for a loved one. He discussed what to be aware of when stress becomes more frequent and looked at personal strategies to improve the management of stress in the caring role and in day to day life. Clement Clarke a Carer talked about the role from his own personal experience stating " I joined the Carers Association and went away with them for a weekend. It is really important, as a Carer, to get away and have a break”
A range of treatments were offered to all attendees. Pressure point massage, foot massage, nails or thermal spa. While people were having treatments all other attendees had the options of joining small group discussions where attendees shared their experiences of being a Carer: the challenges and what helps them with this role. Andy Mc Granaghan lightened the mood with a few jokes and the day ended with all attendees having lunch and taking away a ‘goodie bag’ from the Natural Way.
There was a positive collaboration between HSE and all voluntary agencies to try to ensure that carers who need support the most were given the choice of coming today. Information stands were present on services, relevant for carers, in the community.
For some carers extra home support was put in place to allow them to set aside their caring role for today in order to attend.
According to Anita Gallagher, Physical & Sensory Disability Service Manager “There was an opportunity for all attendees to give their feedback on the day which will help us, as a service, plan for possible future days. We hope that all attendees enjoyed the day and take something away that will help them in their day to day role as a Carer.”
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