May Newsletter 2024 

Dear Reader,

As we drive around large faces on bill boards look down reminding us that an election is taking place on the 7th June. Most of us have been there before and we welcome all those who have just registered for the first time. Does the election affect us or our nursing homes and does our vote really matter?

Firstly 72 small nursing homes have closed since 2018. This is a significant number and whilst the decline has eased the trend continues. Why have they closed? Profitability is not only desirable but essential in any business. Costs have risen quite significantly while the prices for care which is tightly controlled by National Treatment Purchase Fund has not kept pace. There is a two tiered system where residents in public nursing homes receive an average of 700 euro more per week for the same service. Currently there are 5,000 public nursing home beds and 25,000 in the private domain.

All the banks have decided that smaller nursing homes are not viable long term and are very reluctant to finance new purchasers of existing nursing homes. They see difficulties with the funding model and are reluctant to lend. What is a small nursing home? In today’s Ireland anything less than fifty beds is considered small. No new Centre would be built that did not have a minimum of 90 to 100 beds. That is the reality of the climate we live in. Many of the large companies with hundreds of beds or thousands were funded by Pension funds outside of Ireland. This was done when deposit interest rates were low and because they have risen this source has now dried up.

What does the future look like for operators like the Powdermill? Smaller operators will have to be very diligent so that the business survives. Government will continue to be lobbied because when a small Centre closes it will never reopen and no new small Centre will be built again. For some reason the Irish authorities seem to like large corporations and larger nursing homes. What I have tried to do is to brainstorm ways smaller centres can be supported in practical schemes or incentives to preserve what is left. So far all the closures have caused no restless sleep for the Government Official and agents who control the purse strings and who think: “big is beautiful”.

We have encouraged all of our staff to register to vote. Most have acted on the encouragement and registered. Over a quarter of our residents are registered. We ask family members and friends to support the residents who want to go out to vote. Of course many of them are taking the postal option.

It is easy enough to complain about what is wrong with Ireland and much of it is valid. Generating change from the ground up and from the people is possible but difficult and challenging. We need to brainstorm solutions that work.

Many of our civil servants are inherently decent people but the reality is they are often hard to reach, harder to persuade to do things better and a general unhelpful attitude prevails. I would like to be contradicted on the above but a few decades of engagement have taught me otherwise. However, I will continue to advocate for smaller nursing homes which are invaluable to a community. We could not do what we do without the support of the families and friends of our residents. This partnership is the essence of good care and social support.

Lastly people have asked about the future of Powdermill. Let me say this, we have no intentions of rolling over and playing dead. We will fight for what we do and the contribution we bring to society. We recognise that our 55 staff are the bedrock of our service and I acknowledge with gratitude their service, kindness and commitment. As for myself I will probably retire at 85 by which time I should have found a reliable successor to carry Jcp on.

Joseph Peters – General Manager

 

Chrisean Berey in an interview with Joseph Peters

I am twenty five years old and have been in Ireland for almost one month already. I have come here on a health care assistant work permit for two years. My brother Osmond joined Powdermill eighteen months ago and my first cousin John joined two years ago. And the family connections does not end there. My mother came to Ireland as a nurse some years ago and she is now the director of nursing at Powdermill and her name is Joy.

Before I came here I worked at a training school that was established to train health care workers in my home city Bacolod Phillipines.  I myself had completed the six months training prior to my mother opening this school. I was so glad of this training when I came here.  The senior carers and others were very professional and kind in training me to adapt to an Irish nursing home. Even though English is our second language in the Phillippines  I have no difficulty in understanding the residents and I enjoy getting to know them better.

I am amazed at how green Ireland is and how much it rains. It is also very very cold and this is Summer or so they tell me. Of course in my own province of Negros the temperature is always in the high thirties and low forties so this new cold country is going to take a bit of getting used to. In my free time I skype with my family in Bacolod and I practice guitar and listen to music. I have listened to the Cranberries and U2 before I came here.  Like my mother I like to paint and without sounding boastful both my mother and I are quite good.!!

If you see me say hello, I have white hair highlights which one of the residents thought was a wig!!

I am looking forward to developing my career in health care and do some fishing and camping as well. I may need two sleeping bags for that.

 Chrisean Berey – Healthcare Assistant

 

 

I am a daughter of one of the residents of the Powdermill Nursing Home.

When my father moved into the Powdermill in January, I offered to play the guitar and sing, and the staff happily agreed to give me the opportunity.  I am very grateful they were open to letting me give it a try.

My father loves to sing — I learned my love for singing from him as a child listening in the back of the car as he sang or when he was cutting the grass — and I thought it was a win-win situation for everyone concerned: he gets to sing, the residents get to sing (if they wish) or listen or dance (if they can), and I get to sing and play, which I find most enjoyable.  And I have received very positive feedback from both the residents and the staff, as they regularly ask me when I am doing the music again.  This is “music” to my ears!

This, to me, is a community where everyone participates in their own way and everyone gains.  To me, a resident who enjoys my music is participating, and it motivates me to play into the future.  Every resident who sings brings their own unique contribution to the music.  I have learned songs I never knew existed from the residents, and the residents bring great energy to the songs they sing and hugely benefit the group.

The staff are great too, as they also participate in singing songs and hugely add to the overall enjoyment.  And those who don’t sing bring their own humour to their reasons not to sing, or they help enormously by dancing or helping some of the residents to dance.  This helps me in my performance enormously.  My partner also helps out with bringing in my equipment and setting it up.

I played at the Mayflower Festival at the Powdermill recently, and it was an absolute delight.  The food was top-class restaurant standard, and I was very impressed at the work all of the staff put into it.  Well done, all!

Music is a powerful therapy, and I am very grateful I was given the opportunity to be able to help out at the Powdermill, and I myself also hugely benefited.

My partner and I have never come across an organisation before where all the staff — and we mean all the staff — are very kind.  And I and my partner are very grateful for the huge, genuine care and kindness the staff at the Powdermill give to my father.

I would like to express my deep gratitude to the staff and residents for giving me this unique opportunity to play, sing, and participate in their singing sessions at the Powdermill Nursing Home.

Catherine Mellerick – Relative

 

Hi my name is Lily Allen, I’ve been working here for over a year and a half. I have learned so much more from this job than I thought I ever would. It has taught me so much about myself and other people, I have really grown as a person here. I’m studying fine art in college and my job has even affected the area of work I want to go in, I’ve realised I want to go into a people centred job and hope to have a career in art therapy. I have formed such strong connections with the staff and residents alike, I never imagined the bonds I would have created here, they will stay with me for a lifetime.

Lily Allen – Healthcare Assistant

It’s an amazing feeling when I travel to Europe heading to Ireland and it’s a breath taking experience since it’s my first time to visit this place. When I reached the country.I was surprised to my knowledge that I’m not aware how beautiful it is.  Until when I reached the place, I couldn’t imagine the serenity of it and people were very hospitable, kind, and I appreciate the warm welcome which I received. When I arrived at the Nursing home in JCP Powdermill in Ballincollig, I was eager to know how they managed it. How to take care of the residents very well then my eyes are dripping with tears of joy seeing the residents enjoying and having fun doing some other activities its just like they are living at home. All I can say is they are living in the right place with good people surrounded them.

Jefferson Tiangson – Healthcare Assistant

 

April Newsletter 2024

Ground work.

Since late last year we noticed that our wooden Gazebo in the front garden was showing signs of rot and decay. In true Gazebo style it had no roof apart from a climbing honeysuckle intertwined on the roof timbers. Leaves and decaying wood provide little protection from the elements of Irish weather. A new plan was needed.

Our part-time carpenter Martin spoke new words of wisdom. A steel frame he said would be the best structure. S.R.G. engineering came to the rescue from their base at Hobbs’ yard on the Curraheen Road. Martin and myself created a plan and with a laser level we created six platforms for the new Gazebo to perch thereon. Osarabo dug the six holes and now the plan was in full swing.

The steel structure has to be galvanised to prevent rust. There is a place on the Tramore Road which provides such a service and the main structure was now agreed and on order. When it arrived some weeks later Martin stepped back into the Gazebo dance and the roof was on the way. We wanted to create an older vibe and so we had a slate double hipped A roof with all the trimmings.

It was then our garden designer Mr. Peters looked at the path from the Gazebo to the front gate. It had served us well but had a few 90-degree bends which are challenging for wheel chairs. He designed a new meandering brick paved path which would mean sacrificing some lawn space but the benefits of ease of movement for residents was a fair trade off.

The said Mr Peters is known to have a weakness for mini diggers and no sooner was the embryonic idea started in his head when the red one-ton machine arrived. He could be seen happily digging out the path with only occasional disturbance from the office staff. Paving bricks arrived along with the other accessories. Osarabo does like paving and he set to work. Sean another good friend and volunteer arrived with gusto and on his knees he delivered a soliloquy on paving for the best part of two days. This project was really so much fun.

However, the lawn looked a mess, the water feature fell silent and the rain poured down from Heaven. The path from the paved courtyard to the gazebo was narrow for wheelchairs. It got a makeover also so that comfort chairs, wheelchairs etc could access the gazebo with relative ease. A new bespoke stainless steel hand rail was manufactured by our friends at Hobbs’ yard. Electric cabling was laid underground for external lights and a power supply to the Gazebo. The water feature got some minor trimmings, as the paving was completed. Kiln dried sand was added as the last ingredient and the vibrating plate sealed the path into history. New box hedging was planted, new lawns and some railway sleepers appeared on site to galvanise our wood and stone themes.

Water drainage works were completed to the front at the roadside and a concrete base laid down. A skip arrived and was filled, it left and another empty skip arrived. Such excitement!! Barbecue and Pizza oven are now the last accoutrements to the Gazebo area and with a bit of sunshine and a summer on our doorstep our residents can step into a wonderful Summer.

The official opening will be announced shortly and one of our residents has kindly agreed to cut the ribbon. There will be music and tea, cupcakes and orange, crisps and marshmallows. What great adventures happen at Powdermill?

Joseph Peters – General Manager

 

Our weather has been promising since last week and residents are enjoying walking out in the garden and strolling in the Ballincollig park with the staff for some Vitamin D!

Should we prepare the sunscreen? Yes of course. We have it and we are ready. I hope that the Irish weather will not disappoint us. More outside activities for All!

Recently I went back home to my native country, The Philippines for three weeks. The weather was very hot. It was 40 degrees some days. Being here in Ireland for 19 years and going back to that heat was no joke. I was melting! So, sunscreen and hydration is the key. I did not experience sunburn!

I attended the graduation of the 26 Healthcare Assistants in my school in my hometown. They are trained to be excellent healthcare assistants. They are taught the right and proper skills and to have that attitude that provide care to residents in a dignified and person- centred approach. Most of them are coming to Ireland to work and make Ireland their home just like the nurses and healthcare assistants in our Centre that looks after your loved ones. They migrate to work with the aim to help their families back home. Filipinos are known to have strong bond family ties. Assisting their parents financially is one of the gestures that is common and practiced by Filipinos and most times it extends to siblings, nieces, nephews and cousins. Probably you wonder why? The culture of gratitude to parents is taught and inculcated to children from an early age due to poverty and social discrimination of being poor. Those that go abroad have that sense of responsibility to uplift their families back home financially and socially. Just like Irish people who migrated to America, England and all over the world since 1840 to 1990 to have a better life and send money back home. Filipinos have been doing that for a long time for a better future for themselves and their families. I am happy to be part of their successful transition and change of lives in the Emerald Isle.

This coming May, the allocated nurse for every resident will be communicating with the appointed representative of each residents individually to discuss the current condition, health and care plans of residents so you will be updated on the care that is provided to them. For example, the change of mobility, Recurrent falls, Nutrition and modified diets, skin integrity and pressure ulcer, Dementia and cognitive decline and other relevant care plan. This is an opportunity for you to ask questions or clarification to the care your loved one receives. For those of you that wanting to discuss further the care plans of your love ones I can meet you in the Centre. If you are unavailable physically I can organise zoom or phone meeting with you. So, no pressure for those working.  You can send me your questions to personincharge.powdermill@gmail.com . Looking forward to meeting or hearing from you!

Joy Berey, Director of Nursing

 

There’s a little poem by an unknown author that we might think about when problems come our way. It is called “The Oyster.”

This poem through symbols teaches us that we all have challenges in our life. Some times like the grain of sand these challenges remain with us throughout our lives. What we learn is that we can control our attitude and in that way we can still learn and grow from our difficult challenges.

Many times in our lives we help others and this is a noble quest. However sometimes we are reluctant to ask help for ourselves. We all need each other and love and support when given and accepted are indeed a jewel in the crown.

 

There once was an oyster

Whose story I’ll tell,

Who found that some sand

Had worked under his shell.

Just one little grain

But it gave him a pain,

For oysters have feelings

That are very plain.

Now did he berate

This working of fate,

That left him in such a

Deplorable state?

Did he curse the government?

Call for an election,

And say that the sea

Should have some protection?

No! He said to himself

As he sat on the shelf,

“Since I cannot remove it,

 

I think I’ll improve it.”

Well, years passed by,

As years always do,

Till he came to his destiny,

Oyster stew!

But the small grain of sand

That bothered him so

Was a beautiful pearl

All richly aglow.

Now this tale has a moral,

For isn’t it grand,

What an oyster can do

With a small grain of sand?

And what couldn’t we do

If we’d only begin

With all of the things

 

After over two years out sick I am delighted to be back with all of the residents of Powdermill Nursing Home. Everyone has been very welcoming and happy to have me back. I am extremely thankful and grateful every time I go to work to see them all smiling aside from the activities we do together. The month of April has been busy with activities. I introduced Origami which is paper artwork, we made sunflowers, baskets, and animal figures. The residents thoroughly enjoyed this activity and got to showcase their own craftmanship in the Nursing home. Every Tuesday I do a morning of beauty treatments where I do residents hair and nails, this is such a nice treat for them, and I find some residents asking for it more than once a week. It makes them feel like they are in a salon again.

There are many more activities that I do on a weekly basis such as Light chair exercises, balloon exercises, dancing, choir practice, karaoke, bracelet making, imagination gym and reminiscing workshop. Pet therapy with the two nursing home dogs Indie and Casey was warmly welcomed by our residents. I have re-introduced the Sonas Programme and for those of you who don’t know what that is, it is a therapeutic activity, delivered as a group or in individual sessions for those living with moderate to later stage dementia. The sessions involve stimulation of all five senses, gentle physical exercise, quality engagement, communication stimulation, and relaxation.

Carol who has held the fort so well while I was out. Together we are a strong team. c Carol continued to do her weekly Bingo, baking, shopping, walks, hand massages arts and crafts, karaoke, and movie nights. We had our easter party with DJ Tommy providing great entertainment for everyone. He had many of us on our feet dancing and enjoying the music.

We have lots of activities planned in the coming months. We will be having a family fun day, a trip to Blarney Castle and a flower festival.

I am looking forward to the participation with all of the residents, family and staff in the forthcoming May flower festival that will be held in the centre. We will inform everyone of the date closer to the time.

I will leave you with this little acronym:

S  –      See

M –      Miracle

I  –        In

L –      Life

E –      Everyday

Rosemer Adrias – Activities

My grandparents have raised me growing up. From pre-school to college years, they have been very supportive and caring towards me. I remember my grandpa used to bring me to school and pick me up afterwards during my preschool and elementary days. Before going home, we would always buy my favourite street food without letting my mom know because she would get angry if she knew about it as she considers it dirty. After all, according to her, you don’t know how people prepare it – it is my grandpa and I’s little secret up until now. My grandma would always wake up very early in the morning to pack me food for school and iron my uniforms for me so I look neat until my college days. They would always be so proud of me and loved me so much that I wouldn’t even feel that I lacked something in my life.

I haven’t met my father all my life and my mom has been thousands of miles away from me. I only saw her every 2 years for a short while growing up. She has to travel and work abroad just for me to afford a good education and provide for our family’s needs. I didn’t understand all these things when I was younger but now I understand that what my mom did was a sacrifice for me to have a good future and I am so grateful for it.

When I was in the Philippines, I used to work in the hospital as a theatre nurse. I earn about € 300 a month which is just enough for my expenses. I liked my job and I enjoyed doing it. However, I felt like it was already time for me to give back to my family who has done so much for me all my life. Fortunately, I have an aunt whom I only met once or twice in my life who offered to help me come to Ireland and work as a nurse. I thought it was a very good opportunity so I didn’t think twice. On December 12, 2022, I arrived in Ireland and my life changed.

Working in a nursing home is so different from my job in my home country. At first, it was hard for me to adjust. The weather, language, food, and independent living gave me awe. But as time goes by, I feel like I am living my purpose in life and there is nothing more satisfying than this feeling every time I go home from work. I am physically tired but my soul is satisfied.

Working in the nursing home has taught me so many things in life: 1. We only have one life, we have to make the most of it. 2. Life is very unpredictable; we don’t know what will happen tomorrow. 3. We only have one parent or two for some and life is short. Show them how much you love them and give back for everything that they have done for you, while you can. I, myself didn’t have the chance to give my grandparents what they deserved because I lost both of them in my college years. Nevertheless, I still have my mom who deserves the world. I can’t wait for the day that I can bring her here with me so I can make her feel how thankful I am for all her sacrifices that have led me to where I am today.

Lastly, although I haven’t given back to my grandparents who raised me, I have 33 grandparents in the nursing home to show love, care and support. I am the most grateful to do so. Every one of them is so dear to my heart, that every time I spend with them, I see my own and they deserve all the love in the world.

Faith Love Lurica – Staff Nurse

 

My name is Dolores McNamara. I am a resident here for the last 4 years. I come from a family of 6, 4 sisters and 2 brothers. My family come to visit me daily and the care I receive from each one of them is outstanding, I would like to take this opportunity to thank each of them for their support and care. I look forward each day to them visiting me. I really am very happy here in the Nursing home. All of the staff are so warm, friendly and provide such a great level of care to myself and all the other residents here. They are very patient and caring so I would like to thank all of the staff here as well. I have become very good friends with the General Manager Joseph Peters who sits down with me daily and we have great chats and a good laugh. I look forward to catching up with him daily. Thank you to everyone

Dolores McNamara – Resident

 

March Newsletter 2024  

Tough Love

Is there a place for tough love in a nursing home?  If a resident wants to stay in bed all the time is that the right thing to do. As in all things in life we always need to strike a balance between what a resident wants to do and what might clearly be in their best interest.

Case Study 1

Residents wants to have all meals in bed even though they are capable of coming to the dining room or sitting in their room and eating from a table.  I have suggested to the nurses that the care plan which is devised with the support of the resident should agree that the resident would be up for their dinner and if possible to have it in the dining room. Is it o.k. to push for that?

I sometime see the breakfast tray untouched on the bed table at 11.30 am.  I have said before that the bed is not our friend or neither is the chair.

Case Study 2

Residents who are capable of getting out of bed with minimum assistance to use the bathroom but who use a pad instead. This can often be referred to as learned helplessness.  Is there room for tough love here?

Case Study 3.

It is 11.00 am and the curtains are pulled and the lights are on. This is a regular occurrence. There is something energising about natural light that can invigorate the soul.

Case Study 4

Wearing your Pyjamas or night dress all day and night. There were some reports that a Cork City supermarket had to ban (mostly ladies) from coming shopping in their night attire.  Again there is something healthy about putting on your day clothes and leaving your room.

Case Study 5

Spending all your time in your room. I know there are many parents that have lost teenagers to their rooms and electronic devices for a few years. Your soft pale skinned boy went upstairs at 14 and came down three years later with stubble and a girlfriend!! I encourage residents who are entombed in their beds to leave their bed and room and look out on the world. It is worth making the effort. It is worthwhile for your grandchildren to see you in their home. The only memory they have of their grandparent should not be your bedroom in a nursing home.

Remember the nursing home is the place where you live. It is not a sentence. Take every opportunity to get out and dine out, or have your hair done or feed the birds at the Lough, (cabbage and not sliced pan) and do some grandparent work if you are fortunate to have this generation.

Tough love is not our enemy. The bed and the couch are. Conversation and engagement with those around us can wake us from our slumber and do what we can, when we can. Excuses are endless. I have a pain here there an on my coccyx bone. Of course you have because you were not designed to be lain in bed all day.

If you will be challenged in the days and months ahead then now you know what tough love looks like. But before you get your back up remember it is a tyre of love.

Joseph Peters- General Manager

 

Communication plays a vital role in everyday aspect of our lives.  It is on this note that I encourage the Next of Kin or relatives to continue with communicating to our dear residents in the centre by visitation or by phone.

I wish to inform everyone that the best time to call the centre to speak to the nurses who are providing the best care to your loved ones is between 1100H to 1230H in the morning and at 1430H to 1630H in the afternoon.  Rest assured however that, should there be urgent concerns or in the event of an emergency, you will be informed and updated straightaway in a timely manner.

The door of the centre is always open to all of ye to come and visit as nothing beats your physical presence, the warmth of your touch and the lovely smiles you gave to your dear ones.

Aileen Genodifa CNM

Hi Everyone,

My name is Wendy Arnez. I come from Bolivia. I came to Ireland in 2023 to study English in college. I started working in the Nursing home in the household department almost one month ago. In my spare time I enjoy meeting with friends, dancing, walking in the regional park and going to the gym. I have one brother and one sister and I also have a 9-year-old daughter. So far I am really enjoying my time living in Ireland and working in the Nursing home. Everyone has made me feel very welcome right from the beginning of employment and I also am really enjoying getting to know all of our lovely residents.

Wendy Arnez – Household

 

Hello All,

My name is Tunde Vajko and I am from Hungary. I previously worked at JCP Powdermill as a Senior Healthcare assistant and Health and Safety Officer. In February 2021, I went back to Hungary to care for my father and unfortunately in March 2021, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Understandably, this time was a very difficult time in my life. I made the decision to leave my life in Ireland, my partner and my kids and return home to care for both of my parents. It was a very lonely time for me. After 9 months my dad passed away and thankfully my mother recovered from her cancer. During this time, I remained in touch with Powdermill management. I did not return to JCP immediately. I tried different avenues. I returned to Powdermill in March 2023 as a Healthcare Assistant. Unfortunately, I had knee surgery in June therefore I was unable to work a long day as a healthcare assistant. The management proposed to commence as Kitchen Porter. I accepted this position gratefully and after some time my knee started to cause trouble again. I had to take a break from working as kitchen porter and commenced dining room assistant as the days are much shorter. I am extremely grateful to management for all of their help and I really do appreciate it. Powdermill is a great place to work and I am very happy here.

Tunde Vajko – Dining room assistant

My name is Evandro (or Ivan), I’m 34 years old. For years, I worked in the Information Technology field for almost 15 years, but during the pandemic, working in IT became very stressful due to the high demand of tasks. That’s when I decided to take a leap of courage and pursue a different path, coming to Ireland to improve my English; in the meantime, I started working in a nursing home.

This decision was not just a career change, but a shift in goals, life, and mindset. I felt the need to learn something new in an environment where I could make a more direct and meaningful difference. Listening to the life stories of the residents, sharing moments of joy and sadness with them, has become a daily source of inspiration for me.

Throughout this year, I have witnessed the power of care and compassion. Every smile I receive is a daily reminder that I am in the right place. It is a privilege to be able to stand by these people and provide them with comfort and support in their days, even in the smallest tasks.

Furthermore, working with the elderly has been a journey of self-discovery. Not only have I learned the importance of patience and empathy, but I have also found a new way to connect with myself, observing the different perspectives of people older and more experienced than me.

 Evandro Teodoro- Healthcare Assistant

 

February 2024

As Spring returns and daffodils are among its first cheerleaders we feel a small sense of rejuvenation once more. We talk about sunshine, the stretch in the evenings and hear children as well as birds squawking and laughing outdoors.

Nature is a formidable force, the sight of new buds, the sound of the ocean, the blue sky crisscrossed by white jet smoke and flowers decorating our horizon. We are privileged to have peace in our land, where most of us go about our daily duties and responsibilities in harmony with nature, with man and beast.

As we get to April we might hear our elders talk about a Spring Clean where the paint can appeared and old paint brushes were resuscitated for another season. I remember in the early eighties my mother asked me to clean up our yard which was a farmyard. I replied that I would if we had a tractor and front loader. She was not overly impressed with that answer and conveyed her disdain eloquently.

Three years ago I was helping my sister who lived near the old farmhouse with a mini digger. When I finished her project I drove the short distance to the old house and there was grass all over the yard. I spent the next few hours cleaning and grading the yard. It was cathartic and pleasurable and memory filled. Above the gentle sound of the Japanese Kubota engine in the mini digger I could hear the sounds of children playing and talking. I was listening to forty-year-old recordings of me and my siblings that hung in the air. The orchard contributed its story with only one fallen but living Brambley tree to represent the fallen apple trees. The “Beauty of Bath”, soft and beautiful flavoured apple was dead for almost half a century.

I released a few guttural roars after the mini digger was parked for the night. I wanted the neighbours who were not dead to know that even a house that raised nine children and stood empty and silent for 26 years at the foot of the Galtee mountains could still tell the universe and neighbours that we were gone but not forgotten.

There is a poem by Walter De La Mere called the “Listeners”. Even though I studied it in English class during the late seventies the words at the time seared my soul and had much more meaning as the years drifted by.

The Listeners

‘Is there anybody there?’ said the Traveller,

Knocking on the moonlit door;

And his horse in the silence champed the grasses

Of the forest’s ferny floor:

And a bird flew up out of the turret,

Above the Traveller’s head:

And he smote upon the door again a second time;

‘Is there anybody there?’ he said.

But no one descended to the Traveller;

No head from the leaf-fringed sill

Leaned over and looked into his grey eyes,

Where he stood perplexed and still.

But only a host of phantom listeners

That dwelt in the lone house then

Stood listening in the quiet of the moonlight

To that voice from the world of men:

Stood thronging the faint moonbeams on the dark stair,

That goes down to the empty hall,

Hearkening in an air stirred and shaken

By the lonely Traveller’s call.

And he felt in his heart their strangeness,

Their stillness answering his cry,

While his horse moved, cropping the dark turf,

’Neath the starred and leafy sky;

For he suddenly smote on the door, even

Louder, and lifted his head:

‘Tell them I came, and no one answered,

That I kept my word,’ he said.

Never the least stir made the listeners,

Though every word he spoke

Fell echoing through the shadowiness of the still house

From the one man left awake:

Ay, they heard his foot upon the stirrup,

And the sound of iron on stone,

And how the silence surged softly backward,

When the plunging hoofs were gone.

Joseph Peters – General Manager

 

Hi everyone,

I am new in Powdermill Nursing Home Centre. I am delighted that they welcomed me warmly and assisted me as their new staff nurse. A little Bit about me, I am Rosenia and you can call me Rose. I am from Philippines. I previously worked in my home country and in the United Arab Emirates. Nursing job is my vocation and I believed that this new job opportunity will enhance my knowledge and skills. I am grateful to be part of this great team.

Rosenia Largo – Staff Nurse

 

I’m still on a high since the third quarter of 2023 when I received the employee of the quarter award. That is actually the same time frame when I finished the course for the end-of-life care. Nurse Sheena and myself are spearheading this project to maintain the quality of care for residents nearing end of life. I am very proud to say that while we were in the middle of the course, we found out that most standards have been already been practiced in the nursing home. There was an immense pride and joy we felt upon finishing the course and we are excited to incorporate all the learnings. If you see, I use the word “MAINTAIN” as the operative word to emphasise that even before I started work in the Powdermills, certain standards have been and will always be in place to achieve quality care.

Before the end of 2023 through the beginning of 2024 we have SLOWLY embedded the new learnings for the care of residents on palliative care. Why slowly you may ask. It’s because most people are hesitant about major changes. Most people are thrown off by big changes especially when routines were already established.

There isn’t much to be changed in the routine of care provided. We just need to make time in forming a small group from all departments and review the resident’s death and the care given.

This project is very instrumental not only when dealing with grief and loss. It also explores the management’s and employees’ view of death and grieving both personally and professionally while finding the grey areas where we can improve our services. It also sets the expectation of residents and families about their views on death, grief and bereavement upon admission. Keep in mind, there is always a new wave of residents coming in and time has indeed changed. Their needs are ever-changing and I am grateful to have a great team in the centre who assist us setting the tone in facing new challenges.

Redentor Cepeda – Staff Nurse

 

Activities are a key part of our resident’s daily lives. We have a new addition to the team with Rosemer Adrias returning to Powdermill after some time off. It is great to have Rosemer return and team up with our Activity Co – Coordinator Carol Buckley for some fun activities with the residents. Yvonne is also after joining and together we have a great team. Activities include some of the following, Yoga, Chair exercises, karaoke, bingo, quiz, outdoor walks, sonas programme, gardening and a lot more. An activity schedule is placed on our notice board weekly to inform the residents and relatives what activities are scheduled for the following week. We encourage families to join in any or all of our activities with their loved ones.

Jennifer Kennedy – Operations Manager                                          

 

Newsletter January 2024

Last year I wrote several times about the closure of smaller nursing homes in the Irish economy. Over sixty centres have closed in the last six years.

I wrote about the large six by four-foot plywood sign that I saw going in to Belgooly Village which simply said ” save our nursing home”. Unfortunately, it closed and residents had to find new accommodation and Kramers Court nursing home is now silent.

So why am I starting the new year where I left off last year. Even though the underlying problems have “not gone away” and there is every likelihood the trend will continue we at Jcp Powdermill are committed to the future. We will not go down without a fight, a fight for our residents, our staff, and our history of taking legal care of vulnerable older people for 40 years. The O Flynn family stated in 1984 and I purchased in 2005.

What has brought us to this situation.? Smaller nursing homes from 20 beds to 60 beds are not seen as economically viable by the pillar banks and any new purchaser will find it very difficult to raise finance for a purchase. More importantly the financing of new larger centres is also difficult to obtain from banks which is why European Pension Investments came in to the market and now own 15 percent of the market according to E.S.R.I. recent reports. There are around 100 nursing homes which are forty beds or under in Ireland now and which are at risk for the reasons stated herein.

The price paid to nursing homes for Fair Deal residents is tightly controlled by N.T.P.F. which is the National Treatment Purchase Fund, which has three agents who administer the fund on behalf of the H.S.E. They decide what you are going to get and it is either take it or leave it negotiation. Costs far exceeded any modest increases I.e. oil, gas, electricity, wages, equipment to name just a few. A temporary scheme was in place to help nursing homes with fuel costs but this has since ended. A large wooden bill board at the entry to the village put in place by “the pensioner who cried wolf ” will not save any small Centre.

What can we do? Here are a few suggestions about how we can all be constructive going forward.

  1. Commitment from the owners to fight the good fight. I plan to retire at age 85 if the Good Lord grants me health and wisdom to continue what we do.
  2. We need to let our elected representatives know we are worried about the survival of smaller nursing homes. This includes T.D.s senators, and local county councillors. An e-mail is a good start. I am currently meeting all T.D.s in Cork with a colleague from a 24 bed nursing home in Blarney. We have met Michael Creed, Padraig Hayes and Colm Burke in the last two weeks. Michael Mc Grath and the rest known we are on the way.

3 Minister for Older people Mary Butler is on record as saying she would like the H.S.E. to provide the elderly care.  H.S.E. have been reducing the number of beds it provides systematically for the last fifteen years and now  provides just less than 5,000 beds out of a total of 30000 beds. Mary has kept her head firmly in the sand on this one and says there is no problems, private nursing homes are doing fine. Mary what about the sixty closures.?  H.S.E. in its Slainte Care Future plan sees the phase out of nursing homes and people are cared for in their own homes. This is easy to say. The Home Help scheme which is necessary and a fantastic programme is creaking at the seams trying to provide very minimum hours of care per day. How it would provide 24 hours nursing care in people’s home is very short on detail and very long on aspirations.  It can’t be done. It won’t be done. And even if I am proved wrong on the above the cost of providing such a service would make nursing home charges a very, very competitive and safer option. Mary is not listening and all politicians across the political divide can see she is out of her depth on this one. Michael Martin who served as Minister for Health knows only too well that the dream of.H.S.E. providing more beds or even maintaining what they have is ‘spin”. But standing ‘idly by” with waffles for breakfast dinner and supper is probably the most we can expect from out Tánaiste.

  1. We want everyone to who has an interest in the “save our nursing homes” to stay informed and ready to engage. Our elderly residents deserve the best.

Joseph Peters – General Manager

 

Dear reader,

Most of you probably know me but for those of you who don’t my role in the Powdermill is to look after the finances and all operational matters such as Activities, Household Admin and the Maintenance departments. My colleague Joy Berey who is the Director of Nursing looks after all health and welfare of the residents from a clinical and holistic perspective.

I very much appreciate the family members who assist their loved ones with the financial matters and it is very much a labour of love. Louise and I work in the office Monday to Thursday and we are happy to assist you in any way with any account queries that you may have.

 

Jennifer Kennedy – Operations Manager

Hello!

It’s the first month of a new year –

Who knows what 2024 will bring to us, or what we will bring to it!

I am Ann Drummond, and I’m lucky to have the opportunity to work as an assistant in the Barges Dining Room at the Powdermill Nursing Home.

I’m lucky because I work in a big, bright, warm room, made lovely every single day by the fabulous Housekeeping staff. The Maintenance department keep everything in safe and working order for us. I am lucky to be provided each morning with a nourishing breakfast to serve to our residents, prepared by our Chefs and Kitchen Staff.  I am lucky because I get to meet and greet all of the Barges residents at the beginning of each day, after they receive wonderful morning care and medical care from the Healthcare Assistants and dedicated, attentive Nurses.

In 2024, my hope, again this year, is that all of our residents feel sincerely welcomed as they arrive for their first meal of the day, in their home.

I want them to know that they are not only seen, but valued, heard and always loved.

I feel lucky to work in a home where every day I notice kindness, respect and compassion for our residents from all of my colleagues, sometimes in big and obvious ways, but often in those small gestures which make all the difference by comforting a person or lifting someone’s spirits. I notice too how our busy administration staff always make time to come into our dining rooms, to chat with longtime residents and to get to know our new residents, with smiles, greetings and friendliness.

I feel lucky because my role as an assistant in the dining room allows me to often meet the family members and friends of our residents. I appreciate how warm and friendly they are towards me. The quick chats we have are important, meaningful and informative, I believe, and I look forward to them. I hope our visitors each day feel reassured about how much we cherish and respect their loved ones.

In 2024 I wish every resident at the Powdermill Nursing Home, and all of my colleague’s/friends good health and happy moments!

 

Ann Drummond- Dining Room Assistant

Journey of Life Part 1.

A little bit on the Life Path of the late Patrick O Leary

We are all on a life path which begins at birth thanks to the coming together of our parents and their parents and their ancestors before them. While we are all heading to the same final end some have had a longer stopover in this life than others.

Patrick (Paddy) was one of those more fortunate. He was born in Blarney living in Bawnafinny (close to Pauds cross …one mile west of Blarney)

Paddy loved telling stories, right up to our final meetings, just before Covid 19 in 2020.

His life is best told by recalling some of those stories which I am proud to carry on to his Grandchildren and great grandchildren most of whom he was so fortunate to have met.

I believe we underestimate the importance of our grandparents. My one wish if I could rewrite history would be to meet my two Grandfathers, neither of whom I had that privilege of meeting. In fact, I would love to meet all my ancestors. Perhaps someday I will.

My father was born into a world of, horses and carts, candles, oil lamps and outside toilets.  He left a world of mobile phones, Internet and jets. So far no generation has gone through so much change.  He also went through the second world war, thankfully in a neutral country. When asked what stood out as the biggest change in his lifetime, it was not the above, or tv or the nice cars he owned but simply “electricity”. It would be hard to disagree. I was amazed how well his generation embraced change so well, perhaps better than we do today.

  • In brief my father spent the first 14 years of his happy childhood, life in Blarney. He was fortunate to have grandparents living close by. His 1.5mile walk to school was through the ground of Blarney castle, a most beautiful tree lined route, passing right under the famous stone in last few hundred meters. What a wonderful way to start /end your school day in a setting that changed spectacularly each season   From 1940 to his departure from this life he lived on the Lee road with the latter three years residing in the Bons Secures Care Village a mere 500m from his home place. His father’s own father dies when he was 21yrs old. He had one younger sister Eileen who alas had a life on earth only half his. He went to the North Monastery secondary school by bicycle. On leaving secondary school he had to go straight to work even though he would have liked to study history in UCC.  His mother had no income or pension which came in, but with no entitlement, six months after my grandfather’s death    Paddy spent a short while as a legal secretary before getting a job in Cork Farmers Union, who shortly after he joined built a bacon factory in Ballincollig.  When it closed in 1989, he was longest serving employee and was a director. He was in charge of sales a very stressful job and when he lost his job at 64 yrs.  I was delighted as I feared for his health. To my amazement he lived for another 31 years (95yrs) which for the most part he enjoyed. The liquidator employed just one person from then firm during the nine months he was in charge and that was my Father. He enjoyed those few months more than he would have if he were still in sales director.  Listening to my father over the years I believe he would have liked to have been a historian and to have taught history.

I have left out so much in last paragraph. As Paddy was a lover of story telling you will learn more about his life from them.

The story that stands out most in my mind is one I shared dozens of times with others.

My father’s mother, Margret was very interesting lady. She was very industrious. She worked in a luxury hotel half way between Tower and Blarney called Saint Ann’s Hydro.   Do google it.   It was a hotel where guests often stayed for months, some in houses on the site. It had its own post office, electricity, hydrotherapy baths, farm and at bottom of the long avenue was railway station, Saint Anne’s, where my father’s grandfather was a station master on the Blarney branch of the Muskerry tram line.

My grandmother was not only a maid but she also reared chickens which she sold to her employers. She also kept two school teachers as lodgers in her home which was owned by Blarney Castle estate.  Her brother Tommy also worked (16yrs old in 1921) at the hotel.

One night in 1921 while a banquet was in progress Tommy decided as a prank to ring the bell in the belltower and caused an evacuation. Needless to say he was dismissed. An “English “Landlord with a 300 estate in Callan Co. Kilkenny enjoyed the young man’s prank so much that he offered him a job driving his mother.  Years later he (my father’s uncle) would marry my mother’s Aunt and it was at their son’s wedding that my Parents met in 1954.     I thank my Granduncle for his prank as I believe that I would not be here only for.

For the next two years, summer, autumn, winter (some bad nights recalled) and spring my fathers would finish work at around 1pm on a sat and steer his scooter the 96miles to Patrick street in Kilkenny to court my beautiful, beloved mother Elizabeth Furniss. A few months before he passed to the next life, I asked my father if it was ok by him if I changed my surname to my mothers in her honour. He said he would like that. I plan to do so soon.

My parents Elizabeth (Betty) and Patrick (Paddy) were married in Saint Patricks church in Kilkenny on t home mother and that certainly was both a very fulfilling and a worthy occupation. It amazes me how todays parents view this role as a secondary job, one I believe could be fulfilled by either parents.  My father was a busy man, working long hours. On two occasions the company changed ownership and each time he got a job with more pay. Being in charge of sales and van driver/sales was certainly very stressful on my father. He was strict father. I often think whether this is good or bad and have come to the conclusion that middle of road is best.  Many parents today have swung too far in the other direction. I hope I learnt enough from my own father to have got the balance right.    I have good happy memories of life with my parents and siblings.

Returning to yet another story I recall from my father was from his younger years in Blarney

One day a neighbour who worked as a labourer on a nearby farm passed away and the farmer brought his body back to the family home on a horse and trap. They had no tables and chairs in their home, just boxes.

Furniture for the wake was leant by my grandmother. When I pass by there now and see the row of big bungalows with their conservatories and ensuite bedrooms I smile in realisation how lucky we all are.

As said the house they lived in was owned by Blarney castle and in 1940 they were asked to vacate as the owners wished to give it to their estate manager.   So my grandmother and her husband John found a site on the Lee road and built a three roomed house with outside toilet.  John was a male nurse in Saint Anne’s, the asylum on the Lee road. He had a bad heart and in mid-1930 bought a baby ford (one of only a few cars in Blarney at that time).  Because of the war he could no longer keep.  Sadly, he died in 1946 at age of 52 from a stroke.

As a final story I yet again return to my father’s early days in Bawnafinny..  My father and his sister Eileen, two years his junior were invited each year to a children’s Christmas party in Blarney Castle house. My father’s tells about the lovely food and cakes they got but that he and his sister left confused as to why all the other children got a small gift but not they. Later in years he reasoned why. All the other children’s parents worked for the owners. Theirs did not.

As you can read my father was a lover of stories and I am glad to be able to share some with you the reader. He enjoyed sharing these stories with others including friends he made in the Bons Secures Care home.  No doubt you too have some and I look forward to reading them.

Wishing all a happy memorable 2024.

If you google saint Anns’hydro hotel you will find much interesting information on its amazing history

Ironically there is planning for a 120 bed nursing home on this famous site. The clock tower which was there up to recent years is to be re-instated in the plans.

On one such site relating to 1901 I was able to find reference to my Great grandparents William and Ellen and my Grandmother Margret (Maggie) 8yrs old in 1901, who worked there in 1920’s. They are mentioned at end of article below.

https://censusconnections.ie/morning-time-in-the-hydro

Sean Furniss – Friend of the Powdermill

Newsletter December 2023

Memories of Christmas Past

I can still recall fondly, the preparation and the unique atmosphere in the run up to Christmas as a young child. It was delightful and a truly magical time of year.

My five beautiful sisters and two wonderful brothers would set about getting the home-place ready for the big day, inside and outside. We all had our individual roles to play in preparation for the arrival of Daddy Christmas and the casual visiting of neighbours and friends over the coming weeks.

We washed, painted, and wall papered inside the house, filling the home with fresh new fragrances. I loved helping my parents whitewash the walls out in the yard and the outhouse. Cleaning the yard was a big undertaking which we all shared and enjoyed.

The anticipation and excitement of Christmas grew throughout the townland of Mourineabbey with the chanting of the children; “Christmas comes but once a year, when it comes it brings good cheer. When it goes it leaves us here, what will we do for the rest of the year”. The chanting would fill the children and neighbours with joy as everyone worked tirelessly to make the farm as charming as it could be for this special time of year.

Handmade decorations filled the home, bringing festive colour and cheer. Our parents watched and encouraged us, while we playfully created decorations using coloured crepe paper. I helped my father hang the delicate, love infused creations carefully from the ceiling. My mother created a mix of vibrant green holly, red berries, and strong ivy to place around the pictures and ornaments in the living are.

Weeks before Daddy Christmas was due to arrive, we would search the Cork Examiner newspaper for pictures of Daddy Christmas and post them all around our bedrooms. We believed the more pictures we had, the more favourable we would be for gifts in terms of quality and quantity from the man in the big red suit.

Christmas began long before December for our family. We spent most of the year rearing and fattening up geese for ourselves but also for other families who would buy their special Christmas feast from my father. We grew our own turnips, parsnips, cabbage and potatoes alongside the rearing of the geese.

The fascination of the snow on the ground many years, accompanied with family outings, visiting the alluring crib in Mallow still stands out in my mind. The feeling of that cold December air and the excitement mixed with the hustle and bustle of families preparing for Christmas gatherings was almost contagious. Many Christmas cards were written, sent and received by loved ones at this time of year. Christmas week, it was tradition to give the postman who in those days was on his bicycle, an alcoholic drink. This drink symbolised our thanks for all his work throughout the year and wished him luck for the year ahead.

My mother always took the train to Cork City for provisions which included a large, tall red candle, a leg of lamb to be eaten over the Christmas days and a barm brack from Laurence McCarthy on Daunt Street. My mother dealt with Laurence year-round and the brack was a special Christmas treat for me and my siblings. If I was lucky enough, I would travel with my mother and visit the crib in the city.

As Christmas drew near, it was time to prepare the Goose. The children were allowed to pluck the goose in the outhouse while wearing hats to prevent the tiny feathers getting into our hair. It was a very delicate and important job, as the flesh of the goose was thin and could tear easily. I can still hear the loud, heartfelt chant of my family at this time “Christmas is coming, and the goose is getting fat, please put a penny in the old man’s hat, if you haven’t got a penny a ha’penny will do, if you haven’t got a ha’penny god bless you; Like all things of value in those days, there was no waste. The down of the goose was kept and filled into pillows and the fat from cooking the goose was kept in jars. The fat was the used to relieve pains on adult and children joints and aches.

The big day had finally arrived, it was Christmas morning. We crawled to the bottom of our beds where our stockings hung, guided only by the dim light that glowed in front of the sacred heart picture. We sat there laughing and feeling the texture of our stockings, giddy with excitement guessing what surprise we received.

I recall gifts of board games such as snakes n’ ladders and Ludo, colourful sweets and if we were very lucky maybe even a coin. When we returned from mass, we would compare our gifts and play with our cousins from next door.

Christmas day was extra special and warm for the family; it was the only day of the year the range would be lit. My mother loved to cook the bird and home-grown vegetables in the range for Christmas. The rest of the year we cooked and baked using a bastable and pots over the open fire. I still remember the aroma and flavour of my mammy’s special potato stuffing. After dinner each child was given a large slice of Christmas cake covered in white icing, created by my older sister and a glass of lemonade. I remember eating the cake sparingly and slowly to make it last longer. As it was a special occasion and we had visitors, the adults would allow themselves an alcoholic beverage to celebrate.

Christmas night Uncle Denny visited and would sing a few songs and tell stories in front of the tall red candle. The youngest child in the house was given the honour of lighting the candle. This precious Christmas candle burned bright, standing in the red paper-covered turnip. My father used an auger to create a hole wide and deep enough to hold this beautiful candle. When the songs had been sung and the stories were told, the family would kneel praying and giving thanks for the many wonderful gifts we had received, the food and warmth in our home and our simple yet abundant blessings.

We lay our heads down to bed with our bellies full, our grateful hearts and drifted off to sleep thankful for the miracle of Daddy Christmas and our beautiful gifts.

Sister Peggy Cronin – Resident

 

Hi everyone.

My name is Katina. I’m 54 years young and I am your new household worker. I am married to Jason. I have 3 children. Katelyn aged 26. Kelley aged 24 and Dylan aged 19. I have been living in Ballincollig since I was 3 years of age so I have seen a lot of changes in Ballincollig.

I really look forward to getting to know you all.

Katina Smyth – Household

My name is Jeena Mathew. I am a Nurse. I am from India.

I am a new staff of Powdermill Nursing Home. I am really thankful for getting this opportunity to become a part of this dynamic team. I worked as a Registered Nurse in India for 4 years. Then I moved to Dubai and worked there for 2 years. In Dubai I worked in a Long Term Care Unit, which is very similar to our Nursing Home environment. So, I am very happy to be here. A little about my family, I am married and my husband is Mr. Rijo Rajan. We have a 5-year-old boy and his name is Rayan Rijo.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Much-Blessed New Year. God Bless you all……

Jeena Matthew – Staff Nurse

 

We would like to thank all of the nurses, care staff, maintenance, household and accounts team for all the hard work throughout the year. Your hard work, dedication and kindness with our residents every day has not gone un-noticed. I would like to give a very big thank you to our wonderful team for providing such wonderful care.

Joy Berey and Jennifer Kennedy 

 

THE NURSERY NURSING HOME

You  hear the cry of a new born baby

But we have hearing aids and ears to hang them on.

You  hear a child’s first words, or falls and tears,

We have frailty in abundace and falls where no one gets up ‐—— without help.

You  have toy cars and talking dolls and Woodie the cowboy.

We have rollaters and nebulisers and remote control beds.

We don’t have the tooth fairy.

We have a dentist and dentures.

You have potties that are calling you

and training pants, and rewards for samples.

We have bowels and weary bladders and weary hearts.

You have nursery rhymes, and puppets and puppets

We have old songs, and memories. We are old like the pope.

Joseph Peters- General Manager

 

 

Dear Resident,

We are privileged to take care of you at Powdermill. For some of you your bodies are tired but your spirit is strong. For others your mind and your memory is on the wane. We respect you and your history and your care is our only priority.

For many reasons Christmas can be a challenge. There are loved ones who are dead and gone. There are as the song says, young ones turning grey. Our goal as we care for you is to continue to walk with you as you journey through life.  Your stories and your memories are an inspiration to us.

You have hope and hopes and dreams of the present.

I pray you all have a peaceful Christmas and the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ is at the heart of your Christmas. Best wishes from the best nursing home owner in the land and his great team of staff.

Joseph Peters – General Manager

 

Long before we tucked into turkey it was goose that took pride of place on the Irish Christmas table. Traditionally; in many parts of Ireland, right up until the 1950s or 1960s, goose was actually the central dish on the table.

The goose was accompanied by a bread or potato stuffing made with butter and onions and flavoured with seasonal herbs such as sage, parsley or thyme. This would be accompanied by sliced boiled ham and a thick gravy.

Ovens as we now know them wouldn’t have been as common as today, so pot roasting over fire would have been popular, perhaps with a bit of turf added for flavour. Turf was placed on the lid and replaced as it burned. This would have immersed the goose with a scent of turf.

Another method of presenting the goose was with apple sauce or garlic sauce, which was stuffed with fruit. Later it was stuffed with mashed potatoes, breadcrumbs, bacon, onions and herbs.

It is no surprise that goose meat is so highly prized through time. The meat has a different succulence and texture, more intense than other poultry so you don’t need large portions.

The fat is an essential part of the appeal and top chefs love to use it in cooking e.g. roasting potatoes; therefore, nothing went to waist in olden days.

Nowadays, jars of goose fat are selling well in delicatessens and also in supermarkets.

The Goose is Back – Long Live Tradition 

Goose, the most traditional of Christmas poultry, is regaining its place on more and more festive dinner tables. It’s not difficult to see why.

People are becoming much more knowledgeable as to the origins of the meat they buy, and Irish geese reared naturally on pasture and sometimes corn stubble have an obvious appeal.

The rediscovery of our national heritage and customs is also playing a part in this move back to tradition.

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat 

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat 

Please put a penny in the old man’s hat 

If you haven’t got a penny, then a ha’penny will do 

If you haven’t got a ha’penny, then God bless you!

 

 

The Wren 

Another old tradition that has almost died out is the hunting for the wren. However, this old Irish tradition is still alive in West Cork & Kerry.

For several weeks before Christmas, the village boys went in search of the the wren, and when one was discovered, the boys would chase it, until they have killed, the little bird.

From bush to bush, from hedge to hedge, is the wren was pursued until bagged, with as much pride and pleasure as the cock of the woods by the more ambitious sportsman.

On the anniversary of St. Stephen (the 26th of December) the enigma is explained…. ‘attached to a huge holly-bush, elevated on a pole, the bodies of several little wrens are borne about.  

This bush is an object of admiration in proportion to the number of dependent birds, and is carried through the streets in procession, by a troop of boys, among whom may be usually found children of a larger growth, shouting and roaring as they proceed along singing the wren boys song‘ ….

The wran, the wran, the king of all birds, 

St. Stephen’s day was cot in the furze; 

Although he is little, his family’s grate- 

Put yer hand in yer pocket and give us a trate. 

Sing holly, sing ivy-sing ivy, sing holly, 

A drop just to drink it would drown melancholy. 

And if you draw it ov the best, 

I hope in heaven yer sowl will rest: 

But if you draw it ov the small, 

It won’t agree wid de wran boys at all. 

Nowadays because of political correctness, the little bird is not actually killed. However; the tradition is kept alive by charity groups, who give the impression that they have actually done the fowl deed. These groups raise vast amounts of money for charity.

In Dingle in Kerry, the tradition continues every year…….

The boys of Barr na Sráide 

The town that climbs the mountain and looks upon the sea,
And sleeping time or waking, sure its there I long to be,
To walk again those kindly streets, where first my life began,
With the boys of Barr na Sráide, who hunted for the wren.

With cudgels stout we roved about to hunt the dreólín,
We looked for birds in every furze from Litir to Dooneen,
We jumped for joy beneath the sky, life held no print or plan,

And we boys in Barr na Sráide, hunting for the wren. 

And when the hills were bleeding and the rifles were aflame,
To the rebel homes of Kerry the Saxon stranger came.
But the men who dared the Auxies and fought the Black-and-Tan,
Were once boys in Barr na Sráide, hunting for the wren.

But now they toil on foreign soil, where they have made their way.
Deep in the heart of London town and over in Broadway.
And I am left to sing their deeds and praise them while I can,

Those boys of Barr na Sráide, who hunted for the wren. 

So here’s a hand to them tonight, those men who laughed with me,
By the groves of Carham river and the slope of Bean ‘a Tí.
John Daly and Batt Andy’s and the Sheehans, Con and Dan,

And the boys of Barr na Sráide who hunted for the wren.

Happy Christmas to all at the Powdermills !

With best personal wishes,

Ger Tobin – Relative

 

 

Newsletter November 2023

The 21st of December is the shortest day of the year. Of course, we are talking about daylight, sometimes our lives or our circumstances give us long days.

So in the depths of our Irish must have a bit of coal Winter, my topic today is activities for residents and getting outside. Next year will come so we can be pro-active now. You may have seen a wild man digging up the lawn with a mini digger. The mini digger has gone but the man is still on the loose! What is happening is the creation of a new path from the upgraded   Gazebo to the front door. It also includes widening the existing path from the patio in the Millrace down to the Gazebo. This will help those residents in comfort chairs to access the garden in a safe and supported manner. We will have shelter belts/windbreaks around the upgraded Gazebo. Smoking or Vaping will not be permitted in the Gazebo. The water feature will also be improved with some new plants. For anyone with ideas or suggestions please share with the man on the mini digger.

Looking ahead to next year I want to focus again on the social aspect of resident life. It has been a good few years since we operated a wheelchair minibus. In the past we used to take residents to Mass every Sunday and shopping and day trips. Why did we stop?

The primary issue was the State funding which states that Fair Deal funds cannot be used for such an activity. The next difficulty was family members who believed the service was part of the overall package of care. It was not. Drivers were voluntary most of the time.

What worked well was family members who had a full license often drove their own mother or father to appointments using the bus. They also took the residents on day trips. It is hard to quantify the excitement and good will generated by such activity.

I am going to ask Jennifer to look at the money side of this. Jcp is willing to assist both financially and with volunteer drivers but we need to source other funding. Perhaps some of you have done this before.

I remember fondly taking wheelchair bound residents home on Christmas day to their families. Marius a great care assistant and driver would bring them back while I probably napped.

All suggestions to make this happen are most welcome.

Joseph Peters – General Manager

 

My name is Oisín Tobin and I am the grandson of Teresa Tobin, who is a resident at the Powdermills Nursing Home.

Recently, I had to complete a history project for my Junior Cycle assessment called ‘My Place in the Past’. Our family are originally from West Cork; therefore, I went back to my birthplace to do some research.

My topic was the battle of Kilmichael, which took place on November 28th 1920 (103 years ago this week). I selected this topic as one of the customers of Teresa Tobin’s pub was a gentleman named Johnny Hegarty. He was one of the members of Tom Barry’s flying column that wiped out a British force of Auxiliaries soldiers at Kilmichael.

 

Monument to the Boys of Kilmichael, at the ambush site, Kilmichael, West Cork

The battle of Kilmichael, on the road between Macroom and Dunmanway in West Cork was a turning point in the Irish War of Independence as the British Auxiliaries who were regarded as ‘invincible’ tasted defeat for the first time on Irish soil.

People often get mixed-up between the Auxiliaries and the Black & Tans; however, they were separate forces sent to Ireland to terrorize people to conform to British rule.

Tom Barry in his book ‘Guerilla Days in Ireland’ described the Auxiliaries as follows;

  • ‘They were the military & mobile unit of the RIC, recruited from ex-British officers who had held commissioned rank and had active service on one or more fronts during the 1914-18 World War’.
  • ‘They had a special technique, as fast lorries of them would come roaring into a village; the occupants would jump out, firing shots and ordering all the inhabitants outdoors’.
  • ‘No exceptions were allowed – men & women, old and young, the sick & decrepit were lined up against the walls, with their hands up, questioned and searched’.
  • ‘For hours the Auxiliaries would hold the little community prisoners.

This is what I discovered as the awful truth about my place in the past.

The victory by the IRA flying column over the ‘invincible’ Auxiliary force at Kilmichael shook the British authorities to its knees. Tensions were increased as the funeral parade for the Auxiliaries killed at Kilmichael passed through St Patrick Street Cork on December 2nd 1920.

One of the major reprisals carried out on the people of Cork by the Auxiliaries was the burning of Cork City on December 12th 1920.

 

Accounts of the burning of Cork City provided by firemen suggest that they were subject to intimidation, attempts were made to impede their progress, and some were even fired at by the Auxiliary forces, narrowly escaping serious injury.

The Westminster Court of Enquiry by Major-General Sir E P Strickland in December 1920 deemed the incident as a ‘truly staggering reprisal’ by the Auxiliary forces.

In West Cork, two hundred Officers of the Auxiliaries K Company occupied the Dunmanway workhouse, two weeks after the Kilmichael Ambush in November 1920, and two days later the RIC were reinforced by a company of Black & Tans in the RIC barracks, on the main street of Dunmanway town in West Cork.

The Dunmanway Workhouse 

They were regarded as particularly brutal units, who made it clear their intention of seeking revenge for the death of their comrades at Kilmichael.

On the morning of December 15th 1920, a group of more than twenty Auxiliaries came into contact with Canon Thomas Magner (Parish Priest of Dunmanway) and one of his parishioners twenty-three-year-old Tadhg Crowley, at the Cork City end of Dunmanway town.

As the commanding officer and the rest of the group looked on, an Auxiliary drew his gun and shot the two men in cold blood & their bodies were pushed into a drain on the side of the road.

After a subsequent investigation; one of the reasons given for the murder of Canon Magner, was his refusal to have the parish church bells tolled, as a mark of respect for Auxiliaries killed at Kilmichael.

The two victims became known as ‘The Saviours of Dunmanway’, as the outrage following their deaths were said to have saved Dunmanway from further reprisals, similar to the Burning of Cork City. To this day; a Monument stands to the memory of Canon Magner at Ballyhalwick, Dunmanway, West Cork.

 

Monument Erected to the memory of the murdered Canon Magner Parish Priest, Dunmanway, Co. Cork

Before I began researching this project, I had very little knowledge that such brutality took place in my native Country and in the place of my birth West Cork. However, I am proud that West Cork played a significant part in gaining independence for Ireland.

We should not take our independence for granted; especially in lite of what is taking place in Ukraine and the ongoing armed conflict between Israel and Hamas-led Palestinian militant groups that has been taking place in and around the Gaza Strip.

War has serious consequences as thousands of innocent lives are lost through such conflicts. We must learn to treasure our independence, liberty and freedom of speech.

There are groups hell bent on threatening our democracy, as we have witnessed on the streets of Dublin this past week, while down here in Cork we heard politicians moan about not having a public ‘Christmas lights switch-on’!!

Have these politicians forgotten what happened in our city in December 1920?

Hopefully this Christmas, we will be able to enjoy the simple pleasures and be thankful for the good things that we have. We should also be thankful to those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom like the Boys of Kilmichael, and learn to use our freedom wisely.

Wishing the residents and their families; the management and staff of the Powdermills a very happy and peaceful Christmas!

Oisín Tobin.

Oisin Tobin – Grandson of Resident Teresa Tobin

 

In case you don’t know my name is Carol and I am the Activities Co- Ordinator here in the Powdermill. Just a little story to tell you about how I was named Carol. I was born at home, my mother called me Carol because I was born on the 15th December and the carol singers were singing out in the terrace. I really enjoy telling everyone this story.

Christmas is coming so it is that time of year again. It is time to put up the Christmas tree and get into the spirit of Christmas. The residents love this time of year as they gather together with their families for the Christmas party in which staff and residents have lots of fun. We have our Christmas party scheduled for December the 16th and we would love if families would celebrate with us. We have live music scheduled with Tommy the DJ on the 16th December who proves to be a huge hit with both staff and residents. We will have a surprise visit from Santa Claus and Mrs Claus who will give presents to all of the residents. It will be a great fun day. We would love if families can gather together for this special day.

Merry Christmas from all in the Powdermill

Carol Buckley – Activities Co – Ordinator

 

My name is Charlotte Larsen. I have been working in the Household department of the nursing home for the past three years. I took over as Household Supervisor in October 2022.
A little bit about me…
I have two children, Shaun aged 9 and Sofia aged 7.
Prior to having children, I spent a lot of time in Kenya working in a Children’s Home and with homeless children there. I was lucky enough to go back to Kenya in February of this year for a holiday.
I love spending time with the residents in the nursing home every day. Some might say that I get slightly competitive at the weekly quiz…I have zero control over that.
I have always enjoyed cleaning, to me it is the perfect antidote to most of life’s stresses.

Wishing you all a peaceful Christmas.

Charlotte Larsen – Household Supervisor

 

Newsletter October 2023

I read recently a quote that one of the greatest gifts you can give a person is encouragement. For the purpose of this newsletter I would just ask you to accept that the quotation has merit.

What do you think? What does genuine encouragement look like?

I am going to start by describing what it isn’t.  My older brother lives in Wicklow and retired after close to forty years in July this year. There was no party and if there was I was not on the invitation list.

I texted him last April to ask why he didn’t come to Cork. He replied that it was too far to drive for a lecture. Ouch, burn, burn. Now whether I lecture my older brother is a debate for another day. Suffice it to say that encouragement is preferable over the lecture model. It is easy to say to someone they should do this, or they could do that or they ought to do whatever.

For example, we may say to an elderly resident why don’t you get out of bed, or shower or take the medication or get new slippers. And we could lecture on the benefits of all the above. A frown often accompanies the delivery.

Mr Encouragement might do it different. John those slippers have served you well. Did you buy them.? Answer They were a Christmas present from a long time ago. John could I get you a present of a new pair.

John. You don’t like taking medication? No one does but can you share with me what concerns you. Answer: One of the side effects of the medication is that it makes me constipated and I am on the throne with nothing happening. It drives me mad so when I don’t take the tablet my bowels are as regular as clockwork.  Q. Did you tell the nurse about this?  Answer: No. Anytime I do I am told of the benefits of the medication and not the side effects.

The tools of encouragement are many, and I will list a few:

Genuine concern, ability to listen, a smile, a gentle touch, could get you started. Be willing to see a need and help. There are many of us that say if you ever need help call me. They are genuine offers. Sometimes it helps to be specific in what we can offer. Sometimes residents are reluctant to ask for help. That is where we can be spontaneous when we see a need and offer a specific help. Could I drive you to that appointment? I could get those shoes repaired for you. I could etc., etc. Encouragement is a gift.

Joseph Peters- General Manager

Autumn is here! It’s a delight to feel the cold crisps autumn air against our skin in the morning and see the burnt-orange leaves cascading under the trees. The transition of the seasons is amazing and so is the transition of our lives.

Yesterday morning, I attended the funeral of one of our resident. She was 102 years old. Two weeks ago she told me “I am tired”.  The service was a celebration of her well experienced life. Her family has fond memories of her. Three generations singing praises about her. Not all of us will reach that age and some of you may not want to. Aging is an opportunity that others will never experience, it’s a privilege. Dying is also an opportunity to give chances to the new ones. It’s a life cycle.

HIQA (Health Information and Quality Authority) are conducting an announced inspection on the 16th November and usually the inspection will run for six or seven ours. The inspectors will talk to residents, staff and visitors as well as inspecting all documentation pertaining to the Powdermill.  The inspection is grouped into two dimensions which are aligned with the standards: Capacity and Capability of the service, and Quality and Safety of the service. The Centre is open for visitation that day and you are also welcome to speak to the inspector about your experience here and the care that your parent, or relation is receiving in the centre. Wendell, the favourite singer of the residents will be singing for us at 14:30 hours. You are very welcome to join us.

I appreciate all those who joined the recent survey that we conducted. The survey is a great tool for improvement. All your suggestions, concerns and input has been taken seriously. We will endeavour to improve the areas that you have highlighted.

HIQA have also produced a survey and copies are available in the Nurses station for relatives/ residents to complete. Surveys can be returned directly to HIQA or given to staff on duty and we can then give to HIQA on the day of the inspection.

Enjoy Berey – Director of Nursing

 

CHANCES ARE

Five years ago I was privileged to be part of pilgrimage representing Saudi Arabia from the Couples for Christ community. I was thrilled that I’ll be going to Europe for the first time. It was a dream come true.  On our way to Portugal, I had a chance to side trip to other part of Europe.  I’ve been to Paris, Amsterdam, Belgium, Spain then most cities of Portugal. It was then that a thought entered my mind. What if I go to Europe to work? I felt some kind of excitement in my heart. But these were just one of my “what if’s “.

After the pandemic, I realized that life is short and that I should try to do all my “what if’s “while I’m still able to do it. That was my turning point. I suddenly took the OET then plan on coming to Ireland. But leaving my comfort zone which is my home for almost half of my lifetime is very hard and a big leap of faith. I just knew that I should be trusting the magic of new beginnings. Little did I realized that It won’t be an easy thing.

Life is about second chances and people who took the chance on us. Everything is about perfect timing. I was just grateful for the chance that was given to me by Powdermill.  I am humbled and beyond thankful for all the help extended to me by the friendly people of this facilities. Looking forward for new learnings and experiences.

I took my nursing because being an advocate for the patient and helping them get better is a rewarding job. It gives fulfilment to the purpose of being in service to those who need our care. Lastly, it gives so much happiness every time they appreciate our efforts.

Ruth Apalin – Staff Nurse

 

Newsletter September 2023

Some months ago I mentioned a friend of mine who lives in Utah. She is from Vancouver in Canada originally and her parents are still living there. My friend is retired and her parents are in their nineties. A few years ago Sandra wanted her parents to down size or move to assisted living.  Her father in particular was not interested. He told his daughter that he had both their funerals paid for and so there was nothing further to worry about. Fortunately, he did have another daughter who lived nearby and was able to provide much needed support to allow them to live with a reasonable degree of comfort and safety. Sandra will go and stay a week or two to relieve her sister a few times a year.At the moment because they are frail they need six hours home help per day. This costs around 3700 euro per month.

They would no longer qualify to live in “assisted living”. There is also a two year waiting list in Vancouver for a nursing home bed.I share the story simply to illustrate that everyone’s ageing journey is different and not every solution is right for everyone.What caused me to ponder though was the unavailability of nursing home beds in a context where in Ireland smaller nursing homes are closing. The rate may be slow but it is steady. Whilst there are enough beds today can we be confident in the future.?

All the C.S.O. figures indicate that we have an ageing population. Improved health care, lifestyle and treatments have increased the longevity of life. These factors among others indicate that further beds will be required in the not too distant future and yet the trend is a shrinkage of available beds.

As an organisation (Nursing Homes Ireland) and as an individual we have striven to impress our politicians with the need to plan sensibly for the future. This has fallen on very deaf ears. The HSE has seen its bed numbers steadily decline over the last number of years. Smaller units have closed and H.S.E. did stand idly by. They could have been purchased and even upsides a little bit. Of course their own Slainte Care blue print sees care being provided in a person’s own home i.e. Care in the Community. How this might be delivered or financed is anyone’s Guess. I was told that some home help visits are reduced to be then 30 mins.

In my view I think that smaller units are playing a significant part in providing care. It would be a travesty to see the numbers reduce any further.

Joseph Peters- General Manager 

Introduction from Ger Tobin (Son of Resident)

 I had promised Joe to do an article a few weeks ago, but time & events caught up with me.

However, my late father John Tobin & Teresa’s late husband ( Leap, West Cork ), published many articles & poems during his lifetime.

I hope this one might be of interest, as it is a short extract from his memoirs ‘Childhood Days’ published in 2015, it is his recollection from the early 1940’s in West Cork……

RURAL LIFE

In my opinion over a number of years now rural life has declined.  Small shops and public houses have closed their doors. Nowadays, shoppers can go to the big super stores, where it is possible to buy hardware, groceries, whiskey and beer at prices you can buy far cheaper than locally.

There is also the winding down of local rural industries. In my young days, farmers took their milk to local farmer’s co-ops where milk was collected and transported to the factory at Ballineen in West Cork for processing (now known as Carbery Group). The closing of the railway link with West Cork was also a great loss which linked towns together for economic activity.  West Cork never really recovered from the axing and never received the promises made.

Nowadays, West Cork relies heavily on tourism and the loss was felt in shops, pubs and hotels many of which had to close. Local Garda stations, Banks, post offices and schools have also got the chop.  I remember we had two travelling banks in a week in the villages of Drinagh & Leap in West Cork, where people could lodge cheques or withdraw cash.

The rural pub was also the social hub in the rural area and it’s decline has desolated many rural villages. Many of the small festivals/carnivals have also died out; people came together and joined in many activities during the festivity, especially in summertime. A marquee was set up for dancing nearly every night of the week.  Pub singing and other craic happened in the bars. Have we become too sophisticated for these simple events which gave so much pleasure?

 

POTATOE DIGGING AND HARVESTING   The main crop in my youth was when potatoes were ready for digging when the haulms turn yellow in the autumn—around mid-October and all hands available were put to work.  Much depends on the weather conditions during the growing season of the crop. With a small hand spade some soil was removed around a fairly substantial plant and the size and quality of the tubers inspected. It is important to dig the potatoes on a dry sunny day which will give the potatoes time to dry.

The ploughman of the house burst the ridge of potatoes and they were then dug out with a four prong fork or old Irish spade and left on the surface of the soil to dry, this also hardened the skin of the potato and helped them to last longer.  Main crop potatoes lasted for a considerable time, and dug in large batches and eaten from storage as required.

The leaves and the flowers of the potatoes are poisonous.  The tubers of the plant itself can be poisonous if it turns green from the sunlight that’s why so much earthing is required what is meant by the earthing drawing up soil around the plant when the plant is growing. The main crop matured in about 130 days. Potato tubers lasted for about nine months outside the house in pits. The Irish ate spuds three times a day.  It is thought that men ate 12 to 14 pounds of spuds each day.  In addition to being the stable diet they were also used in the making of poteen, very handy. Potatoes were boiled with jackets on, fried in butter or baked in the ashes.  Potatoes should be stoned where they won’t get so much light yet receive enough air to keep them dry. Jute sacks were ideal. They had to be stored in good condition or one spud could rot the lot. They should be inspected every month and any bad ones removed.

VEGETABLES   The production of your own vegetables was indeed one of the joys of life.   Being able to go out to your own field and dig up a carrot or parsnip and having the benefit of all the fresh nutrients contained within and so it was when growing up in the countryside.

There weren’t as much varieties of vegetable as nowadays but what was there was good.  One also had the economic benefit where you didn’t have to go to the store for your greens. Parsnip, carrot, beetroot, onion, swedes and cabbage were those which most farmers grew.

There were numerous vegetables to grow but most people stuck to what was popular for the table.  Some were easy to grow and others difficult, but farmers were master hand at cultivating their own greens for the table.  The soil was well dug over and the required nutrients applied to the soil.  A rotation of the crops was put in place which meant that the same vegetable wasn’t growing the same place the following year this was to avoid the build-up of pests in the soil.

There were various ways of storing vegetables for instance carrots could be stored in a sand pit or left grow until the first frost and parsnips tasted well after a touch of frost.  Many households grew special plants in their kitchen garden like herbs and salads yet others had orchards and grew different kinds of fruit.

How times have changed!!

John Tobin, Corran, Leap, West Cork

Ger Tobin – Relative (Son of a Resident)

We are in the process of completing a resident survey. Some of you may have been asked already about assisting your relative with the survey.

As soon as this is complete we will begin a relative /friend  survey. We welcome these surveys particularly when  suggestions are made.  We are doing our best but we do not have a monopoly on wisdom.

I do hope that for 2024 we can deliver a wheelchair minibus to take residents shopping and on day trips. This will have to be financed on a partnership basis as Fair Deal object to any of their support being used on non fair deal items.

Jennifer Kennedy – Operations Manager

We just had a recent outbreak of COVID-19 in the nursing home where 4 residents (1 hospital acquired) and 8 staff were infected with the virus.  Once again, we want to thank you for your understanding, cooperation and unyielding support during this difficult times.

As flu season is about to begin, we are waiting for a confirmation date for the administration of the flu and COVID-19 vaccine in line with the Autumn-Winter Vaccination programme.  We are hoping to get the vaccine for the residents and staff alike this month of October 2023.  Consent will be sought for those residents who cannot decide for themselves to assist them with their decision making.

We will continue to safeguard our loved ones against the virus by getting ourselves protected thru vaccination.  We encouraged all NOK, relatives and visitors to refrain from visiting your loved ones in the centre when you have flu-like symptoms or has been vomiting within the last 48 hours.

Our line in the centre is always open for your queries and suggestions.

Aileen Genodifa  – Clinical Nurse Manager

 

My name is Leonarda V. Fallar from the Philippines, almost half of my life has been away from my family working abroad for a greener pasture and I can still remember the first time I worked overseas every week I sent a letter to my parents It’s hard but as time goes by I used to it being far it’s a compliment that I give them not much but sustainable life.
As a Health Care Assistant is a great and tough job but it’s rewarding in caring elderly in different cases, I do enjoy being in this field and the feeling of fulfilment, and gratitude as my parent taught me. I expressed my love towards them.
I worked in Taiwan, Singapore, and Hong Kong, and being recognized now as a healthcare Assistant in Ireland is a big and great opportunity for me and my family in the Philippines.
JCP Powdermill Nursing Home opened that door for me with the help of Ms. Joy Berey who trusted and believed in me in that lowest part of. my life, who gives me hope. Thank you, Ms. Joy Berey you make it possible for me to be here and begin another milestone of my life. The best future and best education for my Daughter.
Ireland is a place where you can be yourself regardless of race, a warmth, friendly, and loving people around you. a safe place that is my dream and I will treasure it all my life. Thank you JCP Powdermill God bless.

Leonarda Fallar – Healthcare Assistant

 

Five years ago, I was asking God what really is my purpose for being here. What is my mission to fulfil that he assigned me to? I was working in the hospital (in the Philippines) as Paediatric Nurse back then. Yes, it was a rewarding job but I cannot feel the joy in my heart until a friend of mine invited me to a medical mission for cleft lip and palate. I was just supposed to join them for one time as I was planning to train as haemodialysis nurse but during the thanksgiving party (which we always do every after the mission), one of the previous patients sang with a beautiful and angelic voice. In that moment I told myself “what if, there is no one willing to do this free medical mission for these poor kids? What if, their surgeon is not someone who gives his whole heart and do these surgeries passionately without asking for any salary? This child can never sing the way she is nor speak clearly and have any confident facing and talking to people.” In that moment I know that God has answered my question and my purpose is to serve people and these children need my service more than anyone. So I stayed.

It was last year when my husband encouraged me to grab the opportunity of working here in Ireland and try new things.
The moment that I stepped out from the Dublin Airport, I felt amazing! From the cold breeze of air to the beautiful flowers, fresh air, green sceneries going to Cork, and the hospitality of the people. I fell in love with Ireland right there and then. I feel like I don’t want to go home to my own country anymore! The people are incredibly friendly too especially in my workplace (JCP Powdermill Care Centre). It is a one in a million chance to be in a place where you feel comfortable and to have bosses and colleagues who treat you like family.
It was sad leaving my job in the Philippines but it is now time to get out of my comfort zone. It is also rewarding to be in a job where you help old people feel that they are loved and valued. I feel honoured that I have been a part of their lives before they go back to our dear Father in Heaven.
I always believe that everything that happened to us has purpose and each of them are leading us to where we are supposed to go.

Lara Jane Tayapad – Healthcare Assistant

 

Newsletter August 2023

 As I drove into the small village of Belgooly on the Cork to Kinsale road there was a large 6ft by 4ft sign which said “Save our Nursing Home”.  The nursing home originally called Cramers Court and purchased by the Aperee group in 2019 has announced that it will close and all their residents will have to find new accommodation.  I pondered the phrase “Save our Nursing Home” and this article is a summary of my reflections.

Cramers Court or Aperee Belgooly will not be saved. Cramers court is not unique. Smaller nursing homes have been closing all over Ireland since 2018 with up to twenty closures nationwide. The story follows a similar pattern. There is shock and disappointment particularly from the family members who must organise new accommodation for their loved ones. There are often news stories in the print media and on radio.  Residents have no voice and if they did it would be falling on deaf ears. What changed in 2018 that prompted smaller nursing homes to close and to continue the trend? Will is stop anytime soon?

Question 1

There is a well-known phrase which goes as follows: Turnover for vanity, profit for sanity and cash is king.  The fundamentals of any business is to remain viable and show a profit. In this way the business can have a reserve in case of emergencies and can plan for the future. More importantly it can pay its taxes, repay loans and its staff and suppliers regularly. Economics therefore is the principal reason for the closures. You may suggest that of all nursing homes that closed some of them had to be viable so therefore economics cannot be the sole reason and you are most probably right.  Unfortunately, even if a nursing home owners want to retire and they want to sell the facility there are no buyers. Banks in their supposed wisdom have not been supporting smaller nursing homes and making finance available for a number of years now.  Their own economic analysis is that the Fair Deal Rate (National Treatment Purchase Fund agree and dictate prices for all residents on Fair Deal) is too low to sustain viability over the lifetime of the loan. The reality is then that all smaller nursing homes throughout the country are no longer being sold and the banks view along with the unavailability of finance has dampened any enthusiasm   among new entrants to the industry.

Will this trend continue.? Absolutely.  When these smaller nursing homes close they will never open again. No new smaller units are being built for the aforementioned economic reasons. Therefore, it is imperative that we start saving our nursing homes before the sign appears on the entrance to your village.

A strong voice has to be established that recognises the value of smaller nursing homes for our elderly residents. The post offices are gone from rural Ireland, the pubs are declining fast and the number of farmers is in steady decline. Smaller nursing homes are now in the firing line. So we need some creative thinking from all parties to “Save our Nursing Home.” Here are a few of my suggestions;

The Banks will need to meet with NTPF and outline what they see as an economic funding model for the next fifteen years. I personally believe that this is achievable without “breaking the bank” as it were.

Government and by that I mean the Civil Servants have to honestly reflect on what can be done.  There could be capital allowances for smaller nursing homes to expand up to 100 bed which is the minimum number that is supported by the banks. There could be a VAT reclaim fund for all the costs for upgrades and expansion.

The HSE could easily purchase smaller units and run them as a base in the community to support the Home Help scheme.  The HSE has been reducing the number of residents it caters for steadily over the years. Of the 30,000 residents in fulltime care around 5000 are cared for by the HSE.

Recognition: All parties involved in providing care, regulating care and commenting on the service (media) need to recognise what a valuable service it is to have in the community and to give the staff who work there the recognition they deserve.

Joseph Peters- General Manager

 

Nursing home week is a dedicated week nationally with a central theme that highlights some of the many positives of living in a nursing home. This year the theme was “celebration through music” and the activities team at Powdermill all rolled up their sleeves and began to rock. Jennifer, Yvonne, Carol, Rose, Nicole, and many more lead the action. The highlights were many starting with a message of support from the great man from Donegal, Daniel O Donnell. We provided the tea. On Thursday the weekly quiz changed to a music quiz and I was glad that I knew Elton Johns’ real name. It is Reginald Dwight York. On Thursday a D J arrived in the afternoon fresh from his recruitment from the mens’ shed and took us on a trip out West, mending fences and branding cattle. Avery, J.J., and Reese Peters, grandchildren of Mr. Peters came with their violins and cello and finished off their set with Danny Boy to genuine applause and smiles all round.

On Saturday the men’s choir arrived and were fantastic. This was their second visit and they are now a firm favourite.  There were many smaller activities and we were so glad to share that with the residents. And of course the wee cup of tea,

Jennifer Kennedy – Operations Manager

 

I have always loved learning – information, skills, crafts, anything I could learn, I wanted to know more. Now that I am older, I still find new things to learn and still enjoy doing so. It is said that learning new skills can help our mental health too, but that is not the only reason to try new things. I have recently taken up learning macrame and discovered ways of making keyrings, earrings, bracelets etc which I give as gifts. It also reawakened my love of knitting and cross stitch, so I am making hats, gloves and scarves as well as jumpers.

Another thing I have rediscovered is my love of languages. I decided to refresh my Irish, French and Italian and now I am also learning German, Latin and trying to figure out Japanese, Russian and Portuguese. Its fun learning to say things in different languages.

Do you have something that you would like to take up again? Or something you have always wanted to try? It is never too late to start. And if you find out that its not for you at least you have tried.

So just ask others what hobbies they enjoy – you might discover your new favourite passion

Deirdre O Mahony- Resident

 A Trip to Gougane Barra with my Family

Summer has gone and now we are threading trough the cold season. Before we get too cosy in our blankets in front of the fireplace and enjoying our cup of tea, I would like to share our summer trip to Gougane Barra with my family.

Since I came to Ireland on 2019, I have always loved the luscious green scenery here. I would always go on trips with my family to different spots around the country. Recently we had our trip to Gougane Barra and I was mesmerized by the beauty of the place. I have to be honest to say that I have put it as one of my go to place in the future.

We travelled to Gougane Barra at around 10Am and was planning to have a cup of coffee and see what’s in that place to see. We arrived after at least an hour drive. The route getting there is a bit challenging due to the narrow roads. My first impression of the place, is that it is very serene or peaceful. I did not even mind having a cup of tea anymore as I was too excited to capture the moment. We had a stroll around the place and to the church. If you’re a Catholic, like myself, the remoteness and calmness of the location will definitely make an impact to you. I went into the church and said my prayers and lit a candle.

We went on with our walk and discovered that there is a forest park at the end of the road. It felt like being in the actual “Twilight Saga” movie. A supposed to be short trip turned out to be an all-day trip for us. We enjoyed our stroll and did not even notice the time. It was an opportunity for me as well to spend a quality time with my family. I was able to have a lovely walk with my son, showing him how lucky we are to have an opportunity to be able to see the superb beauty of Ireland. He had a fantastic time learning about nature and altogether a memorable one for him.

Irish Gumadlas – Senior Staff Nurse

Hi , This is Beryl and Peter. A Few years ago Peter was a resident in the Powdermill but he has recovered his health and married me.!! We spent six months in South Africa on our honeymoon, as this is where I have lived all my life. Peter was also born in South Africa and emigrated to Ireland thirty years ago. On our return to Ireland we lived in Clonmel, Co. Tipperary for about six months but were unable to find any accommodation there. Then after much searching and angst we found a quaint little cottage in Bantry, West Cork. This is such a beautiful part of the world.We feed the seagulls every day in our front yard.  An 8year old girl named Olivija has adopted usas grandparents.  She lives down the road from us and comes to visit often. She has made us friendship bracelets which we had to promise to wear for the rest of our lives. She often brings us treats, and we treat her too. If she comes around and we are out, she will pick flowers from our neighbours and leave them on our front door mat with a note saying “sorry I missed you “.

We sometimes feel she might be lonely but she brightens up our day when we see her. She worries a little about going back to school and wishes that she could just come to our home and do crafts with granny Beryl. Peter has grandchildren in Cork and Dublin and I have three girls in Cyprus. The oldest girl is in University in Amsterdam. Grand children are always wonderful.  Whenever we go to Cork from here, we try to call in to the Powdermill to see you all. It was really great to see you all at the barbecue and karaoke 🎤.  Joe has always been very good to us and is a lifetime friend unless he messes up.!!.

Looking forward to seeing you all again.

Beryl and Peter Spear ❤️ ♥️

Beryl and Peter Spear

 

Newsletter July 2023

 

Poem

Powdermill isn’t just a home,

I’m happy here, I’m not alone.

Felling relaxed as I watch TV

My carers come in for a chat with my tea.

These friendly faces I see around,

Happy laughter is a familiar sound.

I feel warm and safe within these walls

Always a helping hand if I need to call.

My dignity kept, respect always there,

These amazing people, they really do care.

My loved ones relieved, they too can see

God gave me two homes and two families.

Hello All,

My name is Anne McCarthy. I am a mother of 3 girls and a grandmother of five. I am a resident here in the Powdermill and I arrived to the centre on the 6th July 2022 so I am here just over a year now. I really am very happy here and I look forward to my daily crosswords with our Activity Co-ordinator Carol Buckley. This really keeps my brain going and I have been doing crosswords daily for many years now. I have made quite a lot of good friends here and I feel I am very settled in my new home. The Powdermill is a lovely home to live in. All of the staff are great and always nothing but helpful to me and all of the other residents, nothing is ever too much trouble. I would like to thank all the staff and residents for making me feel so comfortable.

Anne McCarthy – Resident

 

Difficult Choices.

In the Irish Language there is a Sean focal which states ” ni thagann caois roimh aois”. It translates thus, “wisdom does not come without ageing first”.

It is an interesting subject to ponder and reflect upon as we travel the ageing journey.

Health is wealth is a well-known phrase. The longer we live the more we realise that our health is key. Having a property portfolio is wonderful but does not trump health. Can we then develop a positive attitude to ageing if we have not done that?

Can we stop ageing? NO. So we better accept that and grow old gracefully. But it is easy to succumb to ageist thinking which may restrict us. I know of a 90-year-old who flew to Australia from Ireland. Daniel O Donnell is in his eighties and he still performs all over the world. The president of America is over eighty years old. My philosophy is simple. Remain active.  Try and walk every day. That’s easier said than done but a short walk in the fresh air will give you a buzz. Studies have shown that older people who keep pets live longer than those who do not. Tell your G.P. you would like to live to be a 100. Then ask is there anything he/she advises. For men an annual check-up is a must. Many men are fastidious when it comes to maintaining their cars and yet do not have an annual check-up. Do it today if you are that person. Women seem to have more wisdom when it comes to their health and they live longer.!!

Our oldest resident just turned 102. She is the oldest living resident since I have been here in 2005. I am appreciative of all our residents and am fortunate that I can walk with them on their journey. To the visitors, family, friend, pastor or priest, thank you again for taking the time to visit, to chat and to take residents outside. Please remember that most of our residents are capable of going out for lunch or attending special occasions. Our team are only too glad to advise and assist. My own mother who lived in the Powdermill for five and a half years would spend Christmas with my sister in Tipperary. She was not mobile by then so it took a bit of planning and logistics but was so worth the effort.

We have little choice but to accept the ageing process. We can’t stop it but can lessen the impact by making good health choices. Do things that bring you joy. To people who tell me they hate gardening I say, well done, don’t do it then. Find your garden equivalent and do that.

Joseph Peters- General Manager

 

Our Cat Elsa

Was rescued as a kitten by the Powdermill Nursing home 3 years ago. Elsa brings lots of joy to residents and staff especially our resident Eugene. Two weeks ago while on her adventures around the regional park, she had an accident and injured her leg. Thanks to the generosity of Joe and donations from staff, the vet was able to give Elsa 8 stitches and she recovered well from surgery. She is now back in her rightful place with us and bringing us all joy again

Margaret O Driscoll – Senior HCA

 

I was blessed of the opportunity to spent my holiday back in my beloved home the Philippines a month ago.  I am always excited for the thought that I will be spending time with my loved ones especially with my Nanay (Mom) and Tatay (Dad).  For my Tatay, it is an extra special day as he celebrated his 90th birthday, and it was a delight for me to be able to see smiles and laughter for this joyous celebration.

Aside from special occasions and celebrations and enjoying the peace and quiet of the beach and nature, it is this time as well (while I am physically present) that I made sure that my elderlies at home is in good health.  This means going to their Doctors for check-up and diagnostics if necessary.  One day, we went to get their flu jab (as it was rainy season when I went home) from their Doctor.  As we were waiting for the Doctor to arrive in the clinic, there were already a good few that are in the queue for their other health appointment.  I was a bit nosy that time and overheard one of the patient saying that he was advised for hospital admission however he is not financially able to pay for the admission fee and for the treatment itself.  Upon hearing the sentiment, I was brought back to my memory lane when I was still a student nurse.  I was assigned in the medical surgical ward then and I remember we have to spend money out from our allowance to help the patient start the first dose of the prescribed antibiotic as the hospital has no supply of the same and has to be outsourced by the patient.

This was the same issue that I was talking about with the nursing home GM JP before I went for my holiday.  How blessed we are in here (Ireland) that we can ring and can be collected by an ambulance from home or from any facility if we need their service.  The hospital will tend to you according to your needs even though at times it would mean to wait for long hours in the A&E. Diagnostic equipment are readily available for use to rule out the exact diagnosis and treatment.

Undeniably, we have brilliant and skilled doctors and nurses and all other health care team back home.  May be I will just blame it to the lack of resources and to the healthcare system itself.  Or maybe between the rich and the poor.  There are a lot of highly esteemed hospital with latest and most updated equipment as well however it will cost you a fortune to avail of those.  Seems very unfair but that is how it works.

I don’t mean to be comparing but if only we can have these resources as well so that it can help improve the health of my country men.  The ‘nurse’ in me is just kicking in when I see the struggle and I cannot be of help.

Anyhow, going back to my holiday, overall it was fun!!!!

Aileen Genodifa – Clinical Nurse Manager

 

April 2023

Goodbye Masks

For over a month now, Mandatory mask wearing is no longer a requirement in the Centre.It is a delight to see the happy faces and big smiles of our staff, families, relatives, and visitors who call to the centre.

As we continue to ensure the safety of our beloved residents, visitors are advised not to visit the centre if they are experiencing any flu like symptoms including vomiting within the past 48 hours.  We also encourage staff and visitors alike to continue practicing effective hand hygiene.  There are hand gels/sanitizers upon entering the centre and are strategically located inside the home. We ask all visitors to utilise this when they come to visit their loved ones.

We also would like to inform you, that in line with the Covid Vaccination Programme for Nursing Homes, the residents received their Spring Booster on May 17th, 2023, administered by the North Main St. Vaccination Team.

Once again, we wish to thank you for your utmost cooperation and support in keeping the guidelines with regards to infection control and safety of all the residents and staff.

 

Aileen Genodifa –CNM

 

 

Fair Deal Scheme makes headlines

A seventy bed Nursing Home in Cork featured in the national press on the May 11th when it announced they would no longer participate in the Fair Deal scheme from 31/May/2023.

My initial reaction was one of surprise and I thought the move was one of desperation more than inspiration.  A short time later, The Centre issued a statement saying that existing residents on Fair Deal would remain at the centre but no new residents on Fair Deal would be admitted. By this stage, a 98-year-old male resident had been on the news clearly distressed that he may have no place to go by the end of May.

The reason I am discussing this today is, I feel residents need reassurance at this time, especially since over twenty centres have closed in the last eighteen months. Inflation in the last two years preceded by three years of Covid, created an environment that made it very difficult for some Centres to survive.   A lot of people in the collective industry talk about putting “residents first”, but the reality is that residents are often collateral damage when the going gets tough.

There was a nursing home in County Kerry which was scheduled to closed. A two-week notice period was applied to all the residents.

A small nursing home in Cork was closing last year and at least in this situation the notice period was generous and allowed the residents ample time to relocate. However, the number of closures in the last two years of smaller units has caused much distress to residents who have had to move.

Why the closures? There are many reasons why and I will attempt to explain in the order of priority?

  1. Fair deal rate is the weekly rate paid to the nursing home by the Fair Deal Scheme. It is administered by the N.T.P.F. It is a scheme that needs to be reformed and it clearly had no facility to deal with inflation which was the “proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.”
  2. Nursing home regulators were often imposing building requirements on smaller nursing homes that were not legally required.
  3. Running a nursing home is an onerous and arduous process and people may be weary or ready to retire.
  4. There is now no market for small nursing homes as the pillar banks are unwilling to finance purchasers. The banks have stated that the Fair Deal funding is inadequate.
  5. The H.S.E. could purchase smaller units and keep the service going. Other government agencies buy houses at market prices for social housing. Again the H.S.E. has not bought even one smaller unit, if even to see how the model would work.

I am of the opinion that the decision to stop participating in the nursing home support scheme by the centre in Cork in May was ill advised and may have been crude antics to improve their negotiation position with the N.T.P.F.

Fortunately for the residents the Centre has withdrawn the threats and are still participating in the Fair Deal Scheme. There appears to be no acknowledgement for the hurt and anxiety caused to their residents.

 

We at JCP Powdermill strive to put residents at the heart of all we do. We respect that the building is their home. I want to reassure residents that we are in this for the long term. Yes, margins have been tight but in April N.T.P.F. agreed an increase in rates that have recognised the inflationary pressures of the last two years.

Jennifer our Operations Manager also manages the accounts department. Jennifer runs a very professional department which insures the centre remains viable no matter what obstacles come our way.

 

There is a longer fight for the sustainability of smaller centres around Ireland. The move to larger centres is largely driven by economies of scale and the unavailability of finance for smaller units.

Nursing Homes Ireland which represents over three hundred nursing homes nationally is constantly engaging with the government to find creative and sustainable ways to preserve as many of these smaller centres as possible.

 

I am 62 years old. I plan to retire from Powdermill at age 97 like the Duke of Edinburg. As far as I am concerned residents can relax for the next 35 years. They deserve the best. We know that. We have soul.

By Joseph Peters – General Manager

 

Get to know our wonderful employees

 

My name is Rolyn and I have just begun my career as a health care assistant at J.C.P. Powdermill. I arrived in Ireland mid-January 2022. I have relatives living and working in Ireland for many years now. I remember when I was in elementary school (primary here) aged 11, my cousin Grace was a nurse in Ireland. I thought then, that this is what I want to do. My aunt Aileen started working in Ireland in 2017 as a nurse at JCP Powdermill. She started to support me through college as a nurse. I completed two years successfully and then I became a mother and could not do both successfully.

Aileen suggested when the laws changed, that she would assist me to come to Ireland. Last year, I enrolled in a course for six months to train as a health care assistant. I graduated the course and here I am….I am very lucky to have Aileen as an aunt. She has always been very kind and generous to me and maybe a little strict!! Truly she is very good to me and she is helping me to become self-reliant. Of course, I miss my family. I try to call as often as I can. My son is at school and there is a large time difference between Ireland and the Philippines. I lived next door to my grandparents so we always shared great family time.

I would love to train as a Nurse if Powdermill would support and guide me in the future. Joe and Joy have assured and informed me “Powdermill is proud to have been able to assist six health care assistants go on to become wonderful and caring nurses ”I feel as though I am on a journey of redemption here in Ireland. Rolyn comes from the city of smiles – Bacolod, Negros Island and she has certainly brought one of the city smiles with her.

We wish her the very best for the future and look forward to having her as part of the Powdermill team.

                                                                       Rolyn Bacaro – HCA

 

 

My mother was living and working as a nurse in Ireland and I always wanted to come here and join her. Many applications for visas were refused until last year when health care workers were added to the critical skills visa programme.

Once I made the decision to come to Ireland, I began a six month course to train as a health care assistant. I graduated and then I applied for my visa to come here.My perception of Ireland so far is peaceful and relaxed. I come from a city of 600 thousand people, called Bacolod. Bacolod is very busy city with constant traffic and pollution. Irish people are very friendly and welcoming. I like the cold, surprisingly. In the Philippines, you are always hot unless you are under the air conditioner.

I am genuinely surprised at how grateful residents are for the care we provide. We are paid for what we do and yet the residents always thank us.I helped take care of my grandmother in Philippines until she passed away last year. She was 93 and she was a great influencer on my life. She was a remarkable woman who helped so many people in her life whenever she had the opportunity.

I am incredible grateful to be in Ireland and reconnect with my baby brother who I have not seen in five years. This baby is 20 years old now. I also got to meet my three sisters for the first time. These are amazing reunions and have brought such happiness in my life. Seeing my mother daily is unbelievable. Her cooking is amazing. It was a long wait to get here but the reunion is as sweet as a basket of ripe mangos. Right now I am enjoying the present, not thinking too much about the future, soaking in all the good things in my life. When a dream comes true you have to savour the experience as life will always have challenges.

Osmond Ronquillo- HCA

 

My name is Faith Love Lurica. I was born and raised in the Philippines. I am 25 years old and have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Since I was young, I have always had the passion to serve and help people who are in need.

I became interested in healthcare because of my mom, who is also a nurse. She has shown me how wonderful and rewarding it is to have this kind of noble job. When I was younger, I always wanted to become a doctor. It is really my dream, but due to financial insufficiency and how difficult it is to earn in a third-world country, I could not pursue it. However, I do not regret pursuing a Nursing career because I am now living one of my dreams – to be a blessing to many.

I worked in the Philippines for four years in theatre. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience, and I learned a lot from it. Working in a theatre setting was incredibly demanding and tiring, but it was rewarding and satisfying. It gave me purpose in life.

I did not expect that I would get the opportunity to work in Ireland. JCP Powdermills Nursing Home opened that door for me, I did not think twice about it. I grabbed the opportunity right away.

Ireland is a beautiful country. I fell in love with it as soon as I arrived. It is breathtakingly beautiful and peaceful. Working here is the best decision I’ve ever made in my life. I am so thankful to all the people who helped me in my journey, especially to Joy Berey, JCP Powdermills Nursing Home Nursing Director, who made it all possible for me to be here.

 

I may have had a different experience back home working as a theatre nurse and now as a staff nurse in the nursing home, but I am learning and loving what I am doing. Seeing the residents for whom I take care made me feel so grateful that I am given this chance to put a smile on their faces and help them in their everyday lives. It is very fulfilling to work in a nursing home because it’s just like taking care of your grandparents. They will become like family to me. It wasn’t a difficult transition, either, because all the staff in the nursing home are so nice and helpful. They all went out of their way to make me feel welcome.

 

Faith Love Lurica – Staff Nurse

My name is Rachel O keeffe and I am 19 years old. I was born in America and moved to Ireland with my family when I was one. When I finished secondary school, I took a gap year and started working in the Powdermill. I took up the position in household, joining Charlotte and her team. I have been here for two years now, and I love it.

During my time working in the centre, I realised I have a huge passion and respect for the work of the Healthcare Assistants. In September, I began the exciting journey into the world of healthcare by applying and studying Level 5 Healthcare in College of Commerce. During my course, I continued to work part time in the centre giving me lots of experience and exposure to individual resident care needs.

I look forward to perusing my career as a Healthcare Assistant in the Powdermill from September 2023. In the meantime, I intend to work on my suntan and explore the Canary Islands for the summer months.

Rachel O keeffe – HCA

 

My name is Kristina Korshunova. I am 28 years old. By profession, I am a skilled mechanical engineer, and my journey led me to the beautiful land of Ireland in the year 2019 with the aim of mastering the English language. For a span of two years, I lived in the bustling city of Dublin, where I immersed myself in the study of language while working as a Health Care Assistant.

Initially, I had no plans to prolong my stay in this picturesque nation, but the charm and the culture of Ireland cast a spell on me, and I found myself staying longer than I anticipated. I eventually departed from Ireland, but the memories and the experience that I gathered from my time here, left an indelible impact on my life. As a result, I returned to Ireland in August 2022 to pursue a master’s degree in Munster Technological University.

 

Apart from my academic endeavors, I also harbor a passion for literature and derive great pleasure from bringing happiness to people. My time spent as a Health Care Assistant was a delightful experience, and I relished the opportunity to be of service to individuals in need. When I received an offer of employment from JCP Powdermill, my heart was filled with contentment, and I accepted the position without a second thought.

 

The most gratifying aspect of my work as a Health Care Assistant is the ability to not only assist patients with their daily activities but also to provide them with emotional support. The knowledge that I can make a positive impact on the lives of these individuals brings me a deep sense of fulfillment and purpose in my work.

 

Kristina Korshunova – HCA

 

My name is Sheena Malcredo. I am a 34-year old Filipina Nurse. I came to Ireland in December 2022 to pursue my dream and become a RGN Nurse.

Moving to Ireland was hard for me at first, as I had to leave my family and my gorgeous 3-year old son. The opportunity came knocking and I knew I had to grab it.

I am so thankful to JCP Powdermill, especially, Miss Joy Berey of Global Healthcare who showed me kindness and endless patients during the whole process. Her team have helped me a lot from the beginning of my journey to arriving in Cork. Ireland is a really beautiful place. I still remember how amazed I am when I first stepped onto this wonderful land. It was hard at first to adjust, with the climate and the language but I am thankful with my family here in Ireland, as they helped me to cope and provide a roof over my head.

Working in a Nursing home environment is a big transition from working in a Hospital for many years in the Philippines. However, caring for the elderly was not new to me as I was taking care of my parents and grandparents back home. Since I was young, it was my passion to help people. It brought feelings of fulfilment and reward to me. The residents and the staffs here in the nursing home made it easy for me to feel like home as they are caring, sweet and helpful.

In my 3 months of working here, I could say that I am really enjoying it. I miss my family in the Philippines, I am praying that soon I can have them settled here in Ireland. I know many challenges lie ahead of me as time goes by, but I know I will surpass it all. With the guidance of our Lord Almighty, the support of my family and friends, the compassion and perseverance in me, I know I would be successful in my chosen career. I will be forever grateful to JCP Powdermill for giving me this opportunity. I am proud and honoured to be one of their staff nurses. I am looking forward to more years here.

Sheena Malcredo – Staff Nurse

 

 

My name is Tunde and I am from Hungary. I previously worked at JCP Powdermill as a Senior HCA and Health and safety officer. In February 2021, I went back to Hungary to care for my father and unfortunately in March 2021 my Mom was diagnosed with Breast cancer.

Understandably, this time was very difficult time in my life. I made the decision to leave my life in Ireland, my partner and my kids and return home to care for my parents. It was a very lonely time for me. After 9 months, my dad passed away and thankfully my mother recovered from her cancer. God is good. During this time, I stayed in touch with Powdermill management.

Boss Joe and Mrs Joy came to visit me, I was delighted. We had a beautiful dinner and a short time together in Hungary, they saw my country for the first time. I hope they enjoyed it 🙂

In June 2022, I got married and returned to Ireland in July 2022. I did not return to JCP immediately, I tried different avenues. It did not take long for myself and my husband to realise I was happiest and most myself when I was working for Joy and Joe. I called Jennifer, asked her if there was a position available and returned to work here in March 2023.I am grateful again and always love Powdermill management, nurses and staff. They accepted me back here with kindness and love. I will do my best for Powdermill and residents I promise.

Tunde Denes-Vajko – Health Care Assistant

 

Congratulations

We would like to congratulate Kryzia Pablo on her recent promotion to Senior Healthcare Assistant and wish her every success in her new position.

We would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate Nurse Lilet Carpela Soriano and Healthcare Assistant John Ronquillo, on receiving the Employee of the quarter award. Your hard work, consistency and dedication to our residents is greatly appreciated.

 

 

January 2023

How time flies, its January 2023! Isn’t it wonderful to be here at the moment and move to experience another chapter of our lives. We were all tested and challenged during the past year but we will continue to press forward and be grateful for the blessing of being alive and healthy.

Christmas has always been colourful and joyful in the Centre. We had two beautiful Christmas trees and the residents had their Christmas party with their loved ones. We were all entertained by Wendell’s music talent and the catering team provided us with plenty food and wine for everyone. Our local pharmacy supplier Kelleher’s Pharmacy gifted all our residents with toiletries. It was indeed a wonderful time of the year!

We had our fair share of Covid last November. The Centre had its first major Covid outbreak with sixteen residents and four staff affected by the virus. We are glad the symptoms of Covid to our residents were mild. Some were given antibiotics but thank God none needed hospital interventions or emergency action. I know all of you are aware that the Centre is open for visitation. Please do not come to the Centre with any symptoms of Covid or you have been exposed to someone that is positive. You are putting the residents and staff safety at risk. I am sure no one wants to be sick because we are all tired of Covid at this time. Come to the Centre with a mask and use it properly. Do not remove your mask while you are inside the centre or have your mask half covering your nose. Your nose and mouth should be covered. Alcohol hand gel is provided upon entering the Centre. Please use it.

Every year the Centre has the Annual Review Report as per HIQA regulation 23(d). We gather and collate information from surveys from residents, relatives, staff, accidents and incidents reports, risk register audits, complaints, falls, staffing levels, synopsis of Hiqa inspection, trainings, Activities, menus and diets and every department in the Centre has its report to ensure that we have provided person centred care to every resident. We use this tool to help us assess and review the Quality of Care that we deliver. We take this review seriously and as an opportunity to reflect on the service we provided with a particular focus on how it can be improved. I would like to invite you to have an input on the Annual review.

 

If you have any suggestion, comment, or recommendation to improve our service please feel free to email me at personincharge.powdermill@gmail.com. Your input is valuable and we will endeavour to continue to provide the best care to the residents in the centre.

Let me wish one and all a Happy 2023! More blessings and good health be upon everyone. God bless you all.

Joy Berey

Director of Nursing

 

I would like to wish all our residents, their families and friends, and our staff a peaceful and prosperous new year. Again I would like to thank those who assist the residents in managing their finances and paying their bills.

You may have noticed that we are nearing completion of the new stairs. This was a big project and has worked out very well.

Last year we installed a new coffee machine beside the outside office. All visitors are welcome to have a coffee or hot chocolate. It is our small way of saying thanks.

We are glad to welcome back Rosemar to the activities team and wish her every success in her role. She is full of enthusiasm which is contagious. Expect the hair salon and nail bar to be taking bookings shortly.  She will be working with Carol and Rose who have held the fort so well. We have lots of weekly activities planned for our residents and if you have any suggestions we would gladly welcome them.

Thank you

Jennifer Kennedy

 

On the 9th January Terry Prone in an opinion piece compared being in a nursing home to benign incarceration in prison. She further suggested that the loss of freedom by a resident would be more than someone “who attacked a tourist with a box knife”.

We are including a link with this newsletter for the article. I have been given a right of reply which has not been published yet.

https://www.irishexaminer.com/opinion/columnists/arid-41043737.html

       Joseph Peters

 

 

 

Christmas in the beautiful Glen of Aherlow

Christmas in the beautiful Glen of Aherlow was in many ways simple and beautiful. There was Jesus Christ, his mother and father and Santa Claus, the heavy hitters you might say Influencing this celebration. I was child number 4 of clutch of nine so I was perfectly placed to record the aftermath of the stable birth.

Our cooking arrangements consisted of two options, a range using. Solid fuel to heat water and cook and a four ring gas cooker. Every morning my mother would light the range as Gay Byrne informed and entertained the women of Ireland. The gas cooker was used sparingly as money was scarce with one wage and 32 statute acres to raise the offspring.

My father bought a real turkey which had to be converted from a live feathered bird to a roasting pan. It was at least a 24 lbs in weight. We never had it cooked in time for dinner in all my eighteen years at home. The turkey began the cooking journey in the gas oven where it was now a test of strength and dexterity to place it there. The plan was simple. As soon as the temperature rose to the desired level in the range the roasting pan would be transferred there to continue its journey. 30 mins per lb and 30 minutes over.

And this is how it panned out. The turkey would be transferred after one hour to save gas. Holding a hot roasting pan with 27 lbs of turkey was not easy. Then because the stove was wood burning (coal was a luxury) some damp wood would find its way into the fire box and the temperature in the range would drop requiring the turkey to be transferred back to the gas cooker to keep the process going. Then the gas would run low with only a flicker and a dying flame. There was no replacement to be got on Christmas day so the cylinder was turned on its side and put on a kitchen chair to extract the last of its heating properties. This was usually good for about two hours before the cooker was pronounced dead and the driest wood was carefully selected to keep the stove alight and achieving reasonable consistent temperatures. The range was the only game in town now.

By five o clock only a mathematical expert could calculate if the bird was cooked taking all the factors, transfers and loss of temperature into account. It looked cooked on the outside and we ate the outside. My father sharpened the big knife on the plaster wall outside the house. The ear piercing sound of steel on stone was always nerve racking and excruciating. My father sliced the cooked part on the outside until the juice started to run pink. The Brussels Sprouts were boiled with the ham for at least one and a half hours until they were as sour as you can imagine. I ate them as I believed eating manky sprouts was part of the magic of Christmas. The turkey was sent back to the range for an extended period and we all ate our fill. It was wonderful.

One Christmas when I must have been at least seven, Santa went practical and brought me a black leather school bag. My shock, hurt and disappointment was etched on face as my mother sought to sell the merits of a black leather school bag to me. It did not work there was a hand gun in the bag, which was for me. Alas it was only a cap gun which was unable to assuage my grief.

Christmas is not all about happiness you know. It is an often desperate attempt to have one day of peace and joy. And it is mostly successful. Swans swim in rivers and lakes, turkeys die and gas bottles love to run out of gas on Christmas day. That’s how it is.

On Christmas Eve, I invite my children and grandchildren over for a Christmas dinner. It has been going for a number of years and this year five out of my six sons arrived. My other son lives in Adelaide with his wife and four children in South Australia.

My wife prepared a wonderful meal and her menu wide and varied and traditional did not include Brussels Sprouts. One of my sons who wishes to preserve his anonymity breathed a sigh of relief and began to regale all with his dastardly images of my Brussels Sprouts served up every Christmas. How anyone can condemn Brussels Sprouts Creole (recipe available from the author) is beyond this writer’s comprehension. What I do know is that we become our parents in 95% of cases.

Postscript to Christmas Story by Joe Peters

 

The Winner of Our Christmas Story Competition Story

Congratulations Sister Peggy.

Memories of Christmas Past

I can still recall fondly, the preparation and the unique atmosphere in the run up to Christmas as a young child. It was delightful and a truly magical time of year.

My five beautiful sisters and two wonderful brothers would set about getting the home-place ready for the big day, inside and outside. We all had our individual roles to play in preparation for the arrival of Daddy Christmas and the casual visiting of neighbours and friends over the coming weeks.

We washed, painted, and wall papered inside the house, filling the home with fresh new fragrances. I loved helping my parents whitewash the walls out in the yard and the outhouse. Cleaning the yard was a big undertaking which we all shared and enjoyed.

The anticipation and excitement of Christmas grew throughout the townland of Mourineabbey with the chanting of the children; “Christmas comes but once a year, when it comes it brings good cheer. When it goes it leaves us here, what will we do for the rest of the year”. The chanting would fill the children and neighbours with joy as everyone worked tirelessly to make the farm as charming as it could be for this special time of year.

Handmade decorations filled the home, bringing festive colour and cheer. Our parents watched and encouraged us, while we playfully created decorations using coloured crepe paper. I helped my father hang the delicate, love infused creations carefully from the ceiling. My mother created a mix of vibrant green holly, red berries, and strong ivy to place around the pictures and ornaments in the living are.

Weeks before Daddy Christmas was due to arrive, we would search the Cork Examiner newspaper for pictures of Daddy Christmas and post them all around our bedrooms. We believed the more pictures we had, the more favourable we would be for gifts in terms of quality and quantity from the man in the big red suit.

Christmas began long before December for our family. We spent most of the year rearing and fattening up geese for ourselves but also for other families who would buy their special Christmas feast from my father. We grew our own turnips, parsnips, cabbage and potatoes alongside the rearing of the geese.

The fascination of the snow on the ground many years, accompanied with family outings, visiting the alluring crib in Mallow still stands out in my mind. The feeling of that cold December air and the excitement mixed with the hustle and bustle of families preparing for Christmas gatherings was almost contagious. Many Christmas cards were written, sent and received by loved ones at this time of year. Christmas week, it was tradition to give the postman who in those days was on his bicycle, an alcoholic drink. This drink symbolised our thanks for all his work throughout the year and wished him luck for the year ahead.

My mother always took the train to Cork City for provisions which included a large, tall red candle, a leg of lamb to be eaten over the Christmas days and a barm brack from Laurence McCarthy on Daunt Street. My mother dealt with Laurence year-round and the brack was a special Christmas treat for me and my siblings. If I was lucky enough, I would travel with my mother and visit the crib in the city.

As Christmas drew near, it was time to prepare the Goose. The children were allowed to pluck the goose in the outhouse while wearing hats to prevent the tiny feathers getting into our hair. It was a very delicate and important job, as the flesh of the goose was thin and could tear easily. I can still hear the loud, heartfelt chant of my family at this time “Christmas is coming, and the goose is getting fat, please put a penny in the old man’s hat, if you haven’t got a penny a ha’penny will do, if you haven’t got a ha’penny god bless you; Like all things of value in those days, there was no waste. The down of the goose was kept and filled into pillows and the fat from cooking the goose was kept in jars. The fat was the used to relieve pains on adult and children joints and aches.

The big day had finally arrived, it was Christmas morning. We crawled to the bottom of our beds where our stockings hung, guided only by the dim light that glowed in front of the sacred heart picture. We sat there laughing and feeling the texture of our stockings, giddy with excitement guessing what surprise we received.

I recall gifts of board games such as snakes n’ ladders and Ludo, colourful sweets and if we were very lucky maybe even a coin. When we returned from mass, we would compare our gifts and play with our cousins from next door.

Christmas day was extra special and warm for the family, it was the only day of the year the range would be lit. My mother loved to cook the bird and home-grown vegetables in the range for Christmas. The rest of the year we cooked and baked using a bastable and pots over the open fire. I still remember the aroma and flavour of my mammy’s special potato stuffing. After dinner each child was given a large slice of Christmas cake covered in white icing, created by my older sister and a glass of lemonade. I remember eating the cake sparingly and slowly to make it last longer. As it was a special occasion and we had visitors, the adults would allow themselves an alcoholic beverage to celebrate.

Christmas night Uncle Denny visited and would sing a few songs and tell stories in front of the tall red candle. The youngest child in the house was given the honour of lighting the candle. This precious Christmas candle burned bright, standing in the red paper-covered turnip. My father used an auger to create a hole wide and deep enough to hold this beautiful candle. When the songs had been sung and the stories were told, the family would kneel praying and giving thanks for the many wonderful gifts we had received, the food and warmth in our home and our simple yet abundant blessings.

We lay our heads down to bed with our bellies full, our grateful hearts and drifted off to sleep thankful for the miracle of Daddy Christmas and our beautiful gifts.

 

Sister Peggy

 

 

 

 

Christmas time at my house

 

I am the middle child in a large family of 10. My mother a busy housekeeper and my father was a bus driver.

In preparation for Christmas we always got new shoes from the shoe fair. Uncle Vincent worked in Easons and we were lucky enough to get a box of the broken toys from the shop. Daddy would always hide the toys, we pretended not to know this which added to the excitement.

I loved making paper decorations and looking at the sparkling lights on our Christmas tree. We hung the stockings over our beds and waited in anticipation for gifts to fill them.

Daddy would make two cakes and two puddings for Christmas. When he was preparing the turkey for roasting, he would run around the house trying to scare us playing with the turkey legs.

On Christmas day, we always wore our good clothes and new shoes. We received beautiful presents of chocolate sweets, money, an orange, colouring books and pencils.

One very special Christmas which stands out in my mind, I saw Santa land on the roof of a neighbours house across the street. That year I got a shop, made of cardboard and jars of hard items used as pretend food/sweets.

We went as a family to mass every Christmas day with our mother and father. After mass Uncle Peter brought us lemon sweets in a Christmas wrapped box.

After dinner, we always went to visit my aunt Nelly. Nelly lived alone and spoiled us with sweets, biscuits and raspberry drinks.

We always lay our heads to rest on Christmas night happy and very tired from playing with uncle Paddy and our cousins.

Christmas was always a special and magical time at my house.

 

Teresa Scally

 

 

 

Christmas with my family

 

My most precious Christmas days were spent with my only son Paul, his cousins Barry and Isabelle, my mother and my father. Barry is only one month older than Paul.

Santa always brought a bag of presents for myself and Paul.

I loved having my hair done for Christmas and we went to mass late on Christmas eve or early Christmas morning. Christmas evening after our delicious turkey and ham dinner, my sister in law Mary and brother Pat would enjoy the pudding I prepared two weeks previous. It was well known I was heavy handed with the whiskey and brandy in the pudding preparation, amplifying the flavour served with a generous pouring of custard.

It warms my heart to know Paul, Barry, Isabelle and her two sons now all grown, still make the time and effort to see each other on Christmas day and reminisce on years gone by.

Phyllis O’ Neill

 

The Christmas Bazar

Thinking of Christmas stories, I remember a little jack and the beanstalk type moment of my own. It was a Christmas in Cork 1976, which meant going to the wonderful and much awaited Christmas Bazar, with my mother, in the City Hall.

It was a space full of festive wonder with sparkling gifts and colourful lights, where people were doing their holiday shopping and of course, featuring the annual Christmas raffle which I was very excited about as a young boy.

So naturally I asked my mother if I could buy a ticket for the draw. I was so happy when she gave me a pound note (a considerable amount back in those days). So I wondered down with the intention of getting just one, however I came back after spending the entire pound on tickets. My mum was shocked and a little disappointed as we needed the money for the bus fare home, which made feel really bad.

Surprisingly though, shortly after they announced the raffle winners and called out the winning number as five, seven, zero, two, well my eyes lit up straight away with joy as I looked down at my ticket and realized I had the winning one!

So I went up to collect my prize and they give me the biggest Christmas pudding I had ever seen, and my mother was over the moon which made me feel so relieved as it turned out to be a lovely Christmas moment. I couldn’t wait to go home and surprise the family with it, once we figured out how we were going to get back home, of course. We walked home with no money left for the bus, but it was a cheerful walk home.

Michael Hegarty