Tuesday 16 October 2018

Conference provides senior citizens with vital information on services

Duhallow Seniors Conference hears of increased pressure on limited services for elderly people

The inaugural Duhallow Seniors Conference was a resounding success with in excess of 140 people in attendance.

Saoi Network Chairman Jack Roche formally opened the event, welcoming everyone to the specially erected Marquee in the James O'Keeffe Institute.

He noted that in an area with an ageing population, older people are a growing generation and there is an increased demand on limited services and supports for seniors.

The conference was officially launched by Minister Jim Daly, who stressed the emphasis being placed by his department on promoting independent living for older people.

He noted the great work being done in this space by IRD Duhallow, whose supports for the elderly should be held up as an example to be replicated throughout the country.

Following the Minister's words, the panel of speakers for the morning began giving informative presentations on issues affecting the elderly.

Nuala O'Sullivan from Citizen's Information spoke on Rights and Entitlements, and stressed in her presentation, that the Citizen's Information is a free service and offers a weekly clinic in the James O'Keeffe Institute every Tuesday from 10am - 12.30pm.

Helen O'Sullivan was next to speak on IRD Duhallow's Elderly Supports, which promote independent living and an improved quality of life.

The services include the Warmer Homes Scheme, Community Laundry, Care and Repair, Furniture Revamp and Training, not forgetting the meal delivery service offered by Duhallow Community Food Service, which delivered 36,000 meals directly to the homes of older people in the region in 2016.

Closing the morning session was Angela McCarthy of Cork County Council. Angela is Senior Staff Officer for Housing Grants, and focused her presentation on three forms of grants offered by Cork County Council: The Housing Adaptation Grant, Housing Mobility Grant and Housing Aid for Older People Grant.

Duhallow Community Food Service served a wonderful meal for all the conference attendees, and throughout lunch conference, attendees were given the opportunity to visit a number of stands and exhibitors.

Formalities resumed after 2pm and first up was Senior Executive Officer Ray Dwyer, who spoke on the Fair Deal System. He pragmatic presentation style appealed to all in attendance and gave them a much clearer understanding of the options presented under the fair deal scheme.

This was followed by Mary Anne Jones, solicitor with Jones, Carter & Co. Mary Anne gave a presentation on Wills and the importance of writing a properly constituted last will and testament, sooner rather than later.

Sgt John Kelly was the final speaker of the day, he gave an informative presentation about personal security and safety.

He spoke at length of scammers and ensuring you don't ring back unknown foreign numbers or you will be charged premium rates.

The questions and answers session raised interesting points in relation to older people's reluctance to being forced online and the difficulties in sourcing information about supports and services available.

Jack Roche said "a huge amount of information was presented at the conference and I've no doubt people got something from all the speakers. However, aside from this, it was a sociable day for everyone, it was great to see old friends and new. We hope to make this an annual event on our Saoi Network calendar."