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Our Carers’ Coffee Club is a new online resource for family carers to get together via Facebook Live at 11am on Thursdays. The club will have guest healthcare professionals and experts in self-care and well-being providing online support, advice and guidance to family carers during the Covid-19 pandemic and we are inviting family carers to submit their questions for each expert over the coming weeks.
In case you have missed any of our guest speakers, you can still watch their sessions from the Facebook Live series below.
Our first guest was Dr Tony Foley, a GP and lecturer in the Department of General Practice in UCC, who gave an overview of Covid-19 and answered questions related to the virus from family carers.
Our second guest was end of life, grief and loss specialist, Bryan Nolan who offered viewers advice on how to stay well and mind yourself while caring for those you love during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Our third guest was Laura Dowling, aka the Fabulous Pharmacist, who gave an overview of the work of pharmacies during the Covid-19 pandemic and offered advice on medication management and self-care.
Joanna Fortune, a psychotherapist specialising in the parent/child relationship, was our fourth guest and spoke about parenting in a pandemic when you have additional care needs to consider, her ’15-Minute Parenting’ model and how play is an ongoing and necessary part of the parent/child relationship (regardless of the age and developmental needs of the child).
Dementia Nurse Specialist Jackie O’Toole was our fifth guest and offered expert advice and tips for those caring for a loved one with dementia during the Covid-19 crisis.
Our sixth guest was Behaviour Analyst Virge Connery who gave tips and advice on dealing with challenging behaviour in children and young adults with special needs.
First Aid Responder Instructor Helen Hartnett was our seventh guest and spoke about the signs and symptoms of stroke and heart attack, keeping calm when contacting the emergency services and how to deal with burns, nose bleeds and other common occurrences requiring first aid at home.
Family Carers Ireland’s Policy and Public Affairs Manager Clare Duffy was our eighth guest and spoke about the rights and entitlements of family carers.
Professional Accredited Counsellor Tony Moore spoke out our emotional responses to being a family carer and what we can do to give ourselves some “me” time.
Counsellor and Psychotherapist Sarah Sutton delivered a session on how anxiety and stress begin and how they manifest in our bodies and outlined some tools that can be helpful in stressful moments.
Dietitian Niamh McGettigan from Nutricia took us through some general healthy eating advice and tips for those caring for loved ones.
Trusts Solicitor Pauric Druhan from Pearse Trust gave a presentation on setting up a discretionary trust for a person with special needs and took questions on the topic.
Gina Delaney, Development Officer with Mental Health Ireland, discussed the benefits of the five ways to mind your mental health – Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning and Give – and ways that carers can put these into action for an improved sense of wellbeing in our lives.
Medication Safety Pharmacist Muriel Pate from the HSE Quality Improvement Team Muriel offered tips on managing medicines safely and overcoming some of the communication challenges brought about by Covid-19.
Registered Nurse Mary McLoughlin gave a presentation on high risk factors of falls; anticipatory awareness with some conditions (Dementia, Parkinson’s, MS, Osteoporosis); environmental factors and the fear of falling.
Certified Instructor and Registered Nurse Jane Cassidy gave advice to those who are caring for a loved one with a PEG (Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy) tube and require feeding via a tube.
Development Officer and Physical Trainer with Siel Bleu Ireland Paul Kirwan did an exercise session focusing on the key muscles and joints which may come under most strain during a family carer's day-to-day duties.
Catherine gave a talk on the importance of making valid wills, taking proper advice and making proper provision for loved ones. She also explained whether our will can be challenged by anyone and the implications of dying without a will.
Carmel gave a presentation on using PPE properly and sanitising and maintenance of equipment to help prevent injury or illness to family carers and the cared for person.
Kathy gave an overview of Family Carers Ireland's new Emergency Scheme which aims to give peace of mind to family carers as well as ensuring that the person they care for remains safe if the carer is involved in an accident or emergency.
We were delighted to welcome back Bryan Nolan to our Carers' Coffee Club for a second time.
''You Can't Pour from an Empty Cup'' is the tile of Bryan's session and includes timely advice on caring for ourselves while caring for others and exploring ways that may help us to refill that cup of ours.
Registered Nurse Mary McLoughlin of Healthcare Training Solutions sensitively delivered a presentation covering important end of life care topics including care planning, communication and symptom management.
Michael Norton, National Mental Health Engagement & Recovery Lead, HSE, gave a presentation on family recovery in mental health, national policy relating to families in recovery and the services now available for the family in mental health.
Autism Specialist Consultant Sharon McCarthy of Autism Journeys explained why establishing predictability is so important and detailed some easy-to-use strategies to lower anxieties felt by creating structure to support those with autism in our lives.
Rebecca Lloyd, Public Engagement Officer with the Irish Hospice Foundation, chated about the 'Think Ahead' form which aims to help members of the public talk about and record their preferences in the event of emergency, serious illness or death. Where do we start and how do we begin? Find out more about Think Ahead here.
Finola Colgan, Development Officer with Mental Health Ireland, led a discussion on how we can apply CHIME (Connectedness, Hope, Identity, Meaning, Empowerment) in our daily lives to support our mental health during the Covid-19 pandemic. Finola is a member of the coproduction team on Mental Health Ireland's recent five week programme "Mental Health and Family Caring - Supporting the Supporters" in collaboration with Family Carers Ireland. The programme content is due to be published in a new booklet on the same theme.
HSE Midlands Health Promotion Officer Michele Baker delivered a presentation on "The Power of Gratitude". Michele is a strong believer in the practice of gratitude and chats about how it can build on our emotional resilience and help us cope with life’s challenges.
Avril Mullally from Roscommon Yoga & Therapies is a fully qualified Yoga and Mindfulness Teacher who believes self-care and self-kindness is a necessity to help with the struggles we are facing in these difficult times. In this video, she teaches breathing techniques and mindfulness which can be used to reduce anxiety and provide much needed moments of kindness into our day.
Physical trainer Michael McCarthy from Siel Bleu Ireland delievered run an exercise session suitable for anyone focusing on mobility, strength and balance with seated and standing exercises shown.
Carers Network Ireland Founder Ronah Corcoran delivered a talk titled 'Care for Carers: Healthy Body, Healthy Mind'. Ronah discussed the importance of exercise, nutrition, sleep and self-care and share some stress reduction tips and techniques including relaxation, breathwork, mindfulness, foods for stress and gentle movement.
Psychotherapist Hilary Collins delievered a talk on 'Mediation & Mindfulness'. The session included a short meditation – paying particular attention to the breath - followed by some gentle stretching exercises to help ease any tension.