Call for night care facilities for elderly in rural areas

Night care facilities would go a long way towards alleviating the concerns of elderly farmers and other rural dwellers, many of whom are currently living in fear of attack.

That’s the view of retired dairy farmer; former Dairygold Chairman; and previous Ballyhoura Development Association Chairman, John Walsh.

The Boher, Co. Limerick man said that one man he knew, who is now deceased, was so afraid living alone that he spent his nights in a bed and breakfast, rather than go into a nursing home.

Older people, if night was provided, could return to their home during the day; feed their dog; chat with their neighbours and do whatever jobs were required, he said.

As it is, many older people spend their nights locked into their homes, with hurleys, shovels or brushes under their beds, Walsh said. “They don’t come out until the following morning, they are so frightened.

I’ve had people ring me at night, terrified that their house was being broken into.

With a lot of buildings, such as convents, vacant around the country, night care facilities could be the answer to tackling the worrying issue of rural crime, he said.

“There are a lot of empty facilities throughout the country, with nothing going on in any of them. They could be put to use for night care. Day care has been very successful and this would be an extension of that,” Walsh said.

“What people want is a bit of independence and to meet up with other people,” he said.

“The men’s sheds have proven to be very popular and if you talked about that idea ten years ago, you would have been laughed at. They are now highly successful.”

Walsh said he had received an encouraging response to his idea which he raised at an economic development meeting at City Hall, Limerick. “I will be pursuing it into the future,” he said.

Another of his proposals at the gathering was the establishment of a task force to address manpower deficits in the delivery of social services – due to the economic upturn.