Joanna Fortune hosts Family Carers Ireland online ‘Carers’ Coffee Club’

Guidance and support for family carers during COVID-19

Psychotherapist and parenting expertJoanna Fortune is set to hosts Family Carers Ireland’s online ‘Carers’ Coffee Club’, an online resource for family carers to get together via Facebook Live. The next ‘Club’ will take place on Thursday, April 23rd at 11am with guest Joanna Fortune, Psychotherapist who will answer question on how to approach parenting during a Pandemic when you have additional care needs to consider. Read more


Irish Life donates €350,000 to Family Carers Ireland

Irish Life supports essential services for family carers during COVID-19

Family Carers Ireland today announced it has received vital funding from Irish Life to support family carers during and post the current COVID-19 pandemic. Family Carers Ireland will receive a donation of €350,000 to support its essential services for family carers. Read more


Petmania has created the perfect ‘at-home’ pooch pamper

10 steps to a DIY Doggie Day Spa

Trips to the salon are temporarily suspended and whilst everyone’s true hair colour begins to peek out and we master the art of the home spa and mani-pedi, what of our four-legged friends? Read more


Keep dogs and pet-owners egg-stremely safe for Easter

Did you know that ordinary chocolate is toxic for dogs? It can have a long term effect on dogs’ health and in extreme cases can be lethal. With Easter just around the corner the classic chocolate bunny is a no-no for furry friends.

Having launched its dog-friendly Easter egg treats the Irish pet store is warning dog owners to be vigilant this Easter and ensure that pets don’t sniff-out chocolatey treats. Read more


Family Carers Must Not Fall Through the Cracks as HSE Redeploys 750 Home Care Workers

Individual assessment needed for each family carer

As the news emerges that 750 home care workers are to be redeployed to nursing and residential care homes to fill the frontline gaps caused by outbreaks of coronavirus, Family Carers Ireland wishes to reassure family carers that whilst they may lose home care support, they will not be forgotten. Read more

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Petmania to introduce ‘carry-to-car’ service to help maintain social distancing

This week Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announced emergency measures which will be in place across the country. All non-essential retailers are to close until at least Sunday, April 19th.

According to www.gov.ie, “retail sale of essential items for the health and welfare of animals, including animal feed and medicines, animal food, pet food and animal supplies including bedding” may remain open. Petmania  would like to reassure its customers that it will remain open throughout the crisis and is now offering a carry-to-car-service to help customers get essential supplies safely and maintain social distancing. Simply call the local Petmania store to place your order the staff will deliver to the car and place them in the boot. Read more


Family Carers Ireland launch online ‘Carers Coffee Club’

 Social outlet, guidance and support during COVID-19

Family Carers Ireland has launched its ‘Carers’ Coffee Club’ an online resource for family carers to get together via Facebook Live. The ‘Club’ will have guest health care professionals and experts providing online support, advice and guidance to family carers during the pandemic. The organisation is inviting family carers and others to submit their questions online which the expert guests will address in the coming weeks. Read more


Family Carers Ireland has received a significant number of calls to its National Freephone Careline (1800 24 07 24) from family carers asking what might happen should they or their loved one contract the Covid-19 virus or be forced to self-isolate.

“Many of these family carers care for young children or adults with profound disability who may not be viewed as vulnerable to Covid-19 but are most vulnerable in terms of their care needs should their primary carer be forced to self-isolate or become hospitalised” stated Catherine Cox, Head of Communications and Carer Engagement, Family Carers Ireland.

Given the unprecedented pressure on our hospitals due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the organisation’s top priority is to support as many people as possible remaining in the care of their loved ones at home.  With this in mind, there is an urgent need for clear guidance for family carers on how to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in a home caring situation as well as a contingency plan with specific steps to follow in the event of the family carer becoming unable to continue caring.  The organisation has already developed and published an Emergency Care Guide to help prepare for such eventualities, and it is now urging the HSE to present a clear protocol on how the health service will deal with such cases.

As the number of those diagnosed increases and many of these will be sent home to manage their own recovery, we anticipate that an increase in demand for home support corresponding to the surge in hospital demand.  In order to prepare for this, current Home Support Packages are being reviewed and only cases requiring medical or personal care will be most likely continued.  Otherwise families will see a reduction, or in some cases, elimination of existing home care hours on the basis of the unprecedented community support being mobilized in the face of an unprecedented national challenge. Family Carers Ireland accepts the need for this in light of the unique challenge that the Covid-19 pandemic represents.  The organisation will be there to support those families and will work with other groups in the community such as An Garda Síochána, community groups and organisations to try to minimise the impact that this will have on caring families.

“We are all in this together and must show solidarity in these difficult times” said Ms Cox.

Another major concern for family carers is the risk posed by the shortage of personal protective equipment such as hand sanitiser gel and gloves, particularly for those providing intimate care to vulnerable children and adults. Family carers are also concerned that they may be unable to access products essential to their caring role such as medicines, incontinence pads, catheters, diet supplements, etc. as the situation worsens.

Family Carers Ireland is calling on Government to put a number of measures in place to protect Family Carers including: 

  1. Family carers should be named and recognised as a ‘vulnerable group’ by the Public Health Emergency Committee and a guidance document for family carers should be produced giving advice on how to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in caring situations, setting out protocols and steps to be taken should a family carer or their loved one display symptoms.
  2. Priority testing and verification where there is suspected case of Covid-19 within a family carers home.
  3. Clarification over the continuation of home support services in cases where a person in a household has Covid-19 or is in self-isolation.
  4. Contingency plans for when a family carer is diagnosed with Covid-19 or is in self-isolation.
  5. All family carers should have access to personal protective equipment including hand sanitiser, gloves and aprons and gowns where necessary and be given clear guidance on how to use them correctly.
  6. Covid-19 has forced the closure of many routine services family carers and their loved ones rely on including respite and day care services. Efforts should be made to provide in-home alternatives where practical.

Family Carers Ireland has received confirmation from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection that family carers working up to 18.5 hours a week outside the home and in receipt of Carer’s Allowance can apply for the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment and will receive payment should they lose some or all of their hours due to the pandemic.

Family Carers Ireland is the national charity supporting and advocating on behalf the 355,000 family carers across the country who care for loved ones such as children or adults with physical or intellectual disabilities, frail older people, the terminally ill or those suffering from chronic illnesses or addiction. It provides a range of services and supports for family carers through its 22 resource centres nationwide and through our National Freephone Careline 1800 240724. If there are businesses or philanthropic organisations out there who would like to support family carers at this time please go to https://familycarers.ie/donate/



10 tips to motivate the kids and get active with your pet on National Puppy Day 

Today, March 23rd, is National Puppy Day! Time to lavish some extra love on the four legged family members. Countless studies have shown that dogs can help to elevate moods, reduce anxiety and stress, and help to manage our physical health too. Sadly a recent survey* has shown that 60 percent of dogs are overweight and 18 per cent of respondents admitted that their dog gets less than 30 minutes of exercise a day.

Petmania has compiled 10 fun ways to say thank you on National Puppy Day, to get moving with your pet, elevate our mood and beat the cabin fever blues. 

Walk the walk

Depending on the breed of your dog some pets need at least 40 minutes of exercise per day. Leash-up for on walk in a riverside or greenway – choose somewhere with plenty of space and go during quiet times. 

Play a game of classic fetch

An oldie but a goodie. Your dog will delight in chasing that ball down, bringing it back to you and relish in the “good dog” reward.

Set Up Obstacle Courses

Challenge your dog both mentally and physically with a DIY obstacle course. This can be indoor or outdoor. Make jumps, use a hula hoop, fashion a tunnel from a cardboard box, set out the furniture and get your dog to duck and weave between it.

Run Your Dog Up and Down the Stairs

Using the stairs is a great way to add an additional challenge to a dog’s workout. Stand at the top of the stairs, call your dog and throw a ball or toy back down to fetch.

Make Your Dog Work For its Treats

Get some of your dog’s favourite treats and hide them around the house – behind doors, under tables, underneath rugs and let him sniff them out! Treat toys also provide great stimulation both mentally and physically. Be careful to monitor their portion size, treats should make up no more that 10 percent of the dogs intake.

Cycle or Rollerblade

Introduce creative ways to get your daily walk. Take out your wheels and let your pet  alongside you, this can be a bike, scooter, rollerblades or motorised toy car.

Tug of War

There are lots of rope toy options available. This playful game will provide lots of active fun.

Blowing Bubbles

Dogs love chasing bubbles! Set the kids up with a bubble station – let them blow bubbles through the wand and delight in your dog’s attempt to hunt them down.

Play Frisbee 

Stand apart  by 3 meters or more and throw a frisbee to each other. Your puppy will love chasing it back and forth.

Teach Tricks

This is the perfect time to teach your furry friend some simple tricks like ‘roll over’, ‘give me the paw’ or ‘bow’. Visit Petmania’s YouTube for its recommended playlist.

Emily Miller from Petmania Ireland said,

“We hope you use this time at home to enhance your pets health and exercise regime. Animals are terrific companions, especially in uncertain times to boost our mood, get us active and most importantly offer unconditional love.” 


Keeping Kids active, creative and safe in Kilkenny

Hi everyone!

We hope you’re all keeping well and safe during these uncertain times. We know how hard it can be to keep the little ones entertained so we have gathered our top tips and some on-screen events which are happening around us here in #Kilkenny. We are encouraging people to get creative, get active and stay safe!

Here is our 5 things to do in Kilkenny:

Donna Dunne Fitness:

Donna will be doing FREE Facebook live workouts Monday to Friday at 12pm with 20 minutes of physical activity suitable for children.

Check it out here: https://www.facebook.com/donnadunnefitness/

Kilkenny School of Yoga:

Join Edith and Essie for FREE children’s yoga everyday at 3pm for 15 minutes. It will be live on the Zoom app using the following:

Meeting code: 676 200 463

Password: ourjoy

Busy Preschoolers Daily:

Monika Halicka an early years teacher has set up a Facebook group with daily singing and reading for pre-schoolers, it is designed to keep the little ones entertained by hearing known and unknown songs and stories!

You can join the group here:


Kilkenny County Council Library Service:

You can download Children’s and Adult eBooks on the #Borrowbox App or through their online service on www.kilkennylibrary.ie

If you’re not a member of the library you can get a temporary log-in.

All the details can be found here: https://www.kilkennylibrary.ie/eng/online-library/online-library-home-page.html

Petmania Ireland:

You can download and print puzzles and games from Petmania Ireland to keep the little ones entertained, these can be used by teachers and parents encouraging fun learning!

Check out their website:


We hope these resources help with the cabin fever, we will continue to update you on events and tips to keep the little ones busy!

Stay safe everyone,

All the Purcell Masterson Team