Study finds carers of children with behavioural difficulties are at higher risk of depression – Carers Association

A recent report carried out by researchers at the Department of Psychology at the University of Limerick on carers raising children with developmental difficulties, has produced worrying results according to the Carers Association.

The report revealed that in carers of children with disorders such as autism, dyspraxia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, there was a 10% increased prevalence of clinical depression, compared to parents of typically developing children.

It was also revealed that some 15% of carers of children with disabilities who were surveyed as part of the 8, 500 children in the Growing Up in Ireland Survey, were classified as depressed but less than half of those were treated for their depression.

Stemming from this report and given the impact of caring on care-givers, experts have called on authorities to classify care-giving as a major public health concern.

Catherine Cox of the Carers Association supports this move and points out that carers are often so busy caring for others that they neglect their own physical and mental health.

“We would support the call to classify care-giving as a major public health concern as we are at the coal face on a daily basis and see first-hand the strain that our members are under. It is worrying but not surprising to note that while parents are suffering from depression many are not receiving the treatment that they require. This may be because of financial difficulties preventing them from attending a GP if they don’t have a medical card or simply because they feel guilty that they have to seek help as there is still stigma attached to mental health issues.

“These parents are constantly fighting for their childrens’ rights – from fighting for a diagnosis to fighting for early intervention, right through to primary and secondary school assistance. Once their child reaches 18 they have to fight for after-school services and day care centre support. One of the biggest and most worrying problems facing these parents is the lack of therapies available for their children such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech and language services. Many children are languishing on waiting lists for years, and those aged over 7 are at high risk of never receiving the supports. Is there any wonder that there is a higher rate of depression recorded in carers as their lives are a constant battle for services that they should be receiving automatically in many cases from the State,” says Ms Cox.

The report also found that the high rates of depression recorded in carers could be due to the need to control child behavioural problems in children with developmental difficulties with the health and well-being of the child also taking priority over the carers’ own. It was found that more problematic behaviours accounted for increased risk of depression.

“It is vital that interventions are found for the treatment of depression in these parents as evidence has shown that depressive symptoms may worsen over time. We have seen families recently losing home support for their children which is putting tremendous pressure and stress on already stressed parents and families. We point out also that if the carer’s health fails then the State will be faced with an even larger bill to look after both the carer and the person for whom they are caring. It is in everyone’s best interest to care for the carer and put in place systems that consider the carer’s mental and physical health needs as a priority,” says Ms Cox.

Family carers provide some 900,000 hours of care daily and save the State €4billion each year. Over 21% of family carers provide 43 hours of care per week. The Carers Association provides assistance and support to some 187,112 family carers across the country.

Blog 31st Jan 2014

Great performance yesterday by Edwina St Lawrence from the Kitchen in the Castle cookery school. Some great healthy options that you can view on the TV3 website.

Time is always tight on these cookery slots, and there is a lot of assembly and a little cooking. Edwina had gone for roast salmon with puy lentils and herbs for her main course and it looked scrumptious presented on a magnificent platter made by Bridge Pottery from Burnhurch, Co Kilkenny.

Preparation is the key to these slots. Edwina had rehearsed with Kitchen in the Castle colleague Eleanor Martin and they arrived at the studio will all of the ingredients ready to go. Then over to floor manager Derek who was a great help in laying it all out correctly before presenter Anna Daly arrived for their friendly chat.

Thank you to all at Ireland AM

Watch it here
John M

A New Year, A New You with Chia bia – Naturally increase your energy levels and lose weight

Make 2014 your healthiest year yet with Chia bia, Chia seeds have long been lauded by health conscious celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow and supermodel Miranda Kerr.

An ancient super-food grown in South America, Chia seeds are a natural, gluten-free, food-source containing all essential amino acids. They are the highest known plant-based source of Omega 3 and are high in fibre, calcium, iron, magnesium, selenium and zinc.

Through introducing chia seeds into diets on a regular basis, they are proven to help;

  • Maintain a healthy heart and digestive system
  • Improve memory and concentration
  • Balance blood sugar levels
  • Relieve joint pain
  • Encourage weight loss
  • Increase energy levels.

When used as part of a healthy eating plan, Chia seeds can help with reaching weight loss goals;

  • Chia is hydrophilic meaning that it absorbs water and bulks the stomach making you feel fuller for longer helping to eliminate cravings for unhealthy foods.
  • The soluble fibre in Chia helps slow down the rate at which carbohydrates are digested giving you a much slower release of energy. This ensures your digestive system is healthy and your metabolism is optimal.
  • When chia reaches the tummy, it gels and forms a physical barrier slowing down the conversion of carbohydrates to sugar diminishing sugar peaks and troughs and also ensuring the body stores less fat around the middle.
  • UK nutritionist Patrick Holford, and advocate of Chia bia, is currently promoting a new diet called the low GL diet. The GL Diet refers to Glycaemic Load and his premise behind the diet is that sugars, as opposed to the fats cause weight problems.

Chia bia is Ireland’s leading chia supplier importing their chia seeds from Dr Wayne Coates, the world’s leading chia expert, who sources his chia seeds directly from the farmers in South America, for use in their organic nutrient cereal bars and chia seed berry mixes.

See chiabia.com for more details on the benefits of Chia



Carers face further distress following Government cuts to housing adaptation and mobility grants

Family carers across the country have been targeted once again with further cuts announced today to the Housing Adaptation Grant for people with a disability, Housing Aid for Older People and the Mobility Aid grants.

Carers learned this morning that changes to the grants will be implemented immediately and may affect many of the 187,112 family carers who are in receipt of the family carers allowance, seeking to make their homes safe to enable their loved ones to be cared for at home.

The announcement sets out new criteria for the eligibility of the grants leaving many family carers ineligible.

From now on applicants seeking the Housing Aid Grant for Older People must be over the age of 66 – where previously applicants needed to be 60 years of age. Also from today, the income of all household members is to be considered in means assessment for grants – up until now only the income of the applicant and the spouse was assessed. Also under the Housing Adaptation and Housing Aid Schemes, households in the lowest income band with an income of €30,000 or less will only receive 95% of the costs and not 100% as was previously the case. The upper income limit to be eligible for both schemes has been reduced by €5,000 to €60,000 and finally applicants for grants must also prove they have paid their property tax.

Catherine Cox, Communications Manager at the Carers Association says, “this is yet another huge blow to family carers who have already suffered in recent times with cuts to the Respite Care Grant. At a time when there are already huge demands on family carers, this revelation is devastating news for those who are seeking grants. Already family carers are saving the state over four billion euro every year by caring for their loved ones at home. People who are now ineligible for these grants may now have to take the difficult decision to have their loved ones cared for by the state simply because they cannot afford to have their homes modified to keep them there safely.

“Minister Jan O’ Sullivan has said that these cuts are not about saving money but ‘ensuring the grants are made to the maximum number of people that need them most.’ She claims that they have increased the funding for this year by €3million and will help more people stay at home. However, I fail to see how these cuts illustrate what she has stated. Spending on these grants has almost halved over the past three years from €79million in 2010 to €35million in 2013. They come on top of increasing restrictions on older people’s access to the Fair Deal nursing home beds, the abolition of their telephone allowance and cuts to the home-care budgets. The cuts are completely at odds with the Dept of Health’s policy to have less people in hospitals and institutions and care for them at home. Rather than keeping people at home, it will force them into already overcrowded A&E departments.”

“We believe it is timely for the Government to consider a statutory entitlement for carers to homecare community services, which would be of huge assistance to carers and their dependents and be in keeping with the policy to keep people out of hospital,” concluded Ms Cox.



Festive Free Range

Carlow Free Range delivers thousands of turkeys this festive season

With turkeys eaten by 94 per cent of Irish people around Christmas, free range artisan poultry farmers, Bertram and Celine Salter of Carlow Free Range have experienced a significant increase in interest and sales in free range turkeys this year.

Carlow Free Range had sold over 90 per cent of its festive free range turkeys by November 1st and are planning to double production next year to help meet demand, expanding facilities in 2014.

Unusually for its sector, Carlow Free Range owns and manages the entire supply chain process from rearing their turkeys through to packaging and delivery. This means removing food miles and travel stress for the birds and allowing consumers enjoy a healthy, wholesome and natural turkey that is fully traceable to the farm, being reared beside the Salters family home.

Carlow Free Range supplies its turkey to private customers and good craft butchers including Michael McAssey in Ballon and Bosco’s Butcher in Carlow, Ardeen Quality Foodstore in Waterford and reputable independent grocers nationwide.

“Such is demand, we recently expanded our facilities to process additional free range turkeys and are planning on doubling turkey supply next year. People are willing to spend more for excellent quality and great taste and our customers are coming back with orders year after year. Butchers would attest to the fact that free range turkeys are vastly superior in taste and more succulent than commercially produced turkeys.

With so many turkeys now being imported into Irish supermarkets, we are encouraged that demand is increasing for locally reared turkeys and welcome visitors to our farm to hand-pick their turkeys” said Bertram Salter, Carlow Free-Range.

Carlow Free Range’s corn fed free range chicken and free range turkeys receive rave reviews and Bertram and Celine are keen for consumers to go back to older, traditional cooking methods, using everything from the meat to the bones for chicken stock. Both Bertram and Celine are actively involved in the day to day running and management of Carlow Free Range and live by the farm with their three children, Isobel, Jamie and Luci. This way, they ensure that their commitment to quality standards translates into a premium quality, free range poultry.

See www.carlowfreerange.ie



Neven Maguire opens first Cookery School

Award-winning chef Neven Maguire has fulfilled a long-held dream opening his first cookery school, the Neven Maguire Cookery School, in Blacklion, Co. Cavan. With Neven continually investing in MacNean House & Restaurant, employing a team of 50, the opening marks another significant investment into Blacklion.

The state-of-the-art cookery school will feature a range of exciting cookery classes for all skill levels, and tours of Neven’s extensive vegetable and herb collections by resident gardener, Kevin Ashley.

“I meet so many talented and interested cooks at demonstrations all around the country and I have always wished to spend that little bit more time helping them to get to the next stage. From my early days in Fermanagh College I have always enjoyed teaching and am really looking forward to being able to spend time with people who are as passionate about food as I am” said Neven.

The Neven Maguire Cookery School, adjoining Neven’s MacNean House & Restaurant, will begin a range of classes from February 1st 2014.  Classes include both hands-on learning and demonstrations by Neven and his team. Class themes for early 2014 include ‘Entertainment Made Easy’, ‘Mastering Meat’, ‘Breakfast Masterclass’ and specialist classes on vegetarian dishes and fish, with a focus on shellfish.

With many couples taking cooking classes together, the Neven Maguire Cookery School has also announced two special ‘Valentine’s Cooking’ classes taking place February 14th and 15th. Neven is also offering his new Chef’s Table option – an exclusive intimate dining experience in the school. This perfect celebration for special occasions, anniversaries, corporate events and birthdays, can cater for a minimum of ten and a maximum of 20 and serves the celebrated MacNean Restaurant Tasting Menu with accompanying wines, all cooked and presented by Neven and his team.

Neven is currently filming his sixth series for RTÉ television which will be broadcast early 2014. Titled ‘Home Chef’ the series has just been picked up by America’s PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) and will be shown there from November. ‘Home Chef’ is also broadcast in the UK.

His eleventh cook book, The Nation’s Favourite Food, was released by Gill & Macmillan in October 2013. MacNean House & Restaurant has been chosen as the only Irish restaurant included in the top ten of the prestigious TripAdvisor Traveller’s Choice 2013 list for Fine Dining Restaurants in Europe.

The perfect Christmas gift, vouchers for the Neven Maguire Cookery School are now available. See www.nevemaguire.com / 071 9853022.


Dublin Design Firm Win Top Digital App Design Awards

Vermillion Design awarded prestigious national award for Digital App Designs

Dublin-based Vermillion Design have been awarded two prestigious national awards for Digitial App Designs at the recent Annual Institute of Designers of Ireland awards.

The awards celebrate and recognise the very best of Irish design and showcase the excellence of the Irish design industry. Vermillion Design received the Digital App Design awards for their work on singer-songwriter Pierce Turners ‘Snow’ app and ‘Books of Dublin’, an app that showcases a selection of rare manuscripts and historic books in Marsh’s Library and the Edmund Worth Library.

Using cutting edge technology and the outstanding design skills of the creative team at Vermillion Design consisting of Conor O’Riordan, Kevin Dunne, Fiona Byrne and Creative Director Anne Brady, the Dublin firm has firmly established themselves as leaders in providers of digital design. The design and distribution of smartphone and tablet apps is now a €14 billion world market.

Speaking at the awards ceremony, Vermillion’s managing director Anne Brady expressed her pleasure at her company’s outstanding success.

“We are very excited to receive this honour and to share our success with our many clients both here and in the UK. These awards reflect the quality of both our creative design work and our clients’ work. It was a pleasure to work with Pierce Turner is a talent of huge originality on his ‘Snow’ app. The Books of Dublin app reveals some hidden treasures and features video of many of Dublin’s leading scholars discussing their favourite books from Marsh’s Library and the Edward Worth Library”

The first prize award-winning app ‘Snow’ explores the fascinating world of singer-songwriter Pierce Turner and the making of his enigmatic album ‘Songs for a Very Small Orchestra’, concentrating on the writing and production of his much-acclaimed song Snow. Turner, who divides his time between New York and his native County Wexford, is one of the world’s most original and creative forces within the musical world.

The second award taken by Vermillion was for an app entitled Books of Dublin. This app showcases a selection of rare books from two of Dublin’s most renowned antiquarian libraries, and includes commentaries from leading academic specialists.

“This prestigious award for Vermillion Design further demonstrates the impact of design in the area of new media. It proves beyond doubt how creative design skills can add value and indeed change the dynamics within the exciting and constantly developing field of digital communications and marketing” said Andrew Bradley, President of Institute of Designers in Ireland.

Founded by Anne Brady in 1999, Vermillion Design has built an undisputable reputation in Ireland and internationally as leading providers of creative solutions in branding, literature design, 2D, 3D environments and digital media.Both apps, ‘Snow’ and ‘Books of Dublin’ are available for free download to iPad on the iTunes store.

See www.vermilliondesign.com


Carlow’s Artisan Poultry Farmers Celebrate Ten Years

Business has seen 400 per cent growth in turnover

Free range artisan poultry farmers, Bertram and Celine Salter, are celebrating 10 successful years of their business, CarlowFreeRange (formerly Carlow Foods). In just six years the business has experienced an incredible 400 per cent growth in turnover and has recently expanded. With a core team of ten, CarlowFreeRange employs up to 20 people at busier times, particularly coming up to Christmas.

From his family farm in Fenagh, Co. Carlow,Bertram started out supplying free range chickens to local farmers markets, helped by his mother, Olive. From there he spotted a niche in the market for free range poultry and decided to focus on the business, becoming short-listed for a Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award at the age of 30. His wife Celine joined the business in 2004 looking after the operational side. The business has recently expanded adding new packaging facilities and increasing its free range turkey supply.

“Such is demand, we recently expanded our facilities to process additional free range turkeys. We believe that by supporting the welfare of our birds and rearing them free range, we give the consumer the best possible, naturally reared free range chicken and turkey. It is a real milestone both for our family and our business to be celebrating ten successful years and we look forward to a great future” said Bertram Salter, founder of CarlowFreeRange.

Unusually for its sector, CarlowFreeRange owns and manages the entire supply chain process from rearing their birds through to packaging and delivery. This means removing food miles and allowing consumers enjoy a healthy, wholesome and natural product that is fully traceable to the farm.

Working to the standards set by the Department of Agriculture, CarlowFreeRange practice hand feeding using an exclusive formula created to maximise taste. While many poultry suppliers stock 20,000 to 40,000 birds per house, Carlow Free Range cap this at a maximum of 800 in each of their purpose built houses, allowing arelaxed stress free environment with lots of fresh air. In keeping with their philosophy of providing the highest quality, free range chicken and turkey at an affordable price, CarlowFreeRange stocks less than four per cent than conventional poultry farms, giving birds a much better quality of life.

CarlowFreeRange’s corn fed chicken and turkey receives rave reviews and Bertram and Celine are keen for consumers to go back to older, traditional cooking methods of chicken, using everything from the meat to the bones for chicken stock. The company have recently re-branded from Carlow Foods to CarlowFreeRange with new packaging, still maintaining its popular vibrant yellow colour, as well as a new web-site, www.carlowfreerange.ie, giving lots of delicious recipes and cooking tips.

Both Bertram and Celine are actively involved in the day to day running and management of CarlowFreeRange and live by the farm with their three children, Isobel, Jamie and Luci. This way, they ensure that their commitment to quality standards translates into a premium quality, free range poultry.

See www.carlowfreerange.ie