Julie Condren (Operations Manager), Michael Dempsey, Brid Gould (Managing Director)

If Life Begins At 40, What Happens At 60?

If life begins at 40, what happens when you get to 60?

Many younger people see the seventh decade as the start of retirement, of starting to take it easy, of finishing up paid employment and perhaps spending more time on hobbies, on going on holidays, playing golf, being an empty nester. Some will dread it, others can’t wait.

Julie Condren (Operations Manager), Michael Dempsey, Brid Gould (Managing Director)

I decided to ask a few people what they liked about being in their sixties.  The general consensus was that being 60 is also a great age.

You can enjoy the fruits of your labour if you have children and appreciate seeing them do well in the world – perhaps even enjoy the company of grandchildren.

You have more time to yourself and to enjoy your hobbies of baking, golf cycling, reading, and gardening – whatever it might be. Many people take to writing or painting for the first time in their lives and enjoy letting their creativity flow.

There is less call on your time so there’s no guilt about having a long lie-on with a good book on a Saturday morning. Spending time with friends for lunch or coffee happens more often as does catching up with friends and family on social media.

Exercise isn’t necessarily about ensuring your body looks well (although it is an advantage) but the pressure is off.  You now exercise to maintain health, fitness, strong bones and all the benefits that go with it – because you know it makes you feel better but moderate exercise is sufficient for most.

What About A New Career at Comfort Keepers?

As there is an income coming in from a pension and the mortgage is paid off, there is often less financial pressure. Many people become volunteers once they retire, spending time working in charity shops or helping out at local events. Some people decide to start working again and in Comfort Keepers, we have a number of carers who took early retirement and then for one reason or another, took to part-time or full-time work as a home carer.

To give you an example, Michael Dempsey, one of our Carer of the Year finalists, retired three years ago and decided he had much more to give and now works full-time as a home carer.

Being in your sixties seems to mean being even more content, happier, calmer, more reflective, more patient with the world and those in it. It doesn’t mean you have to cease working. If you are looking for a different career, Comfort Keepers has a number of vacancies in offices around the country so do apply today.

John Sheridan (Operations Manager), Mosunmola Kasali, Brid Gould (Managing Director)

Carer of the Year Finalists and Winner

Here are the four finalists for the 2015 Carer of the Year. As you know from our previous post, Jean Bennett was our overall winner and crowned Carer of the Year.

Jean Bennett Carer of the Year

Michael Dempsey was representing the Dublin North region and he works from the DN7 office. Michael clearly loves working as a home carer and he puts the ability to be good at your job as down to the 3C’s : Communication (being able to chat to people and make a difference to their day), Companionship (making people feel happy in your company) and Care (being able to look after people).

Julie Condren (Operations Manager), Michael Dempsey, Brid Gould (Managing Director)

Tippula Mangan is from Cork  and has been working with Comfort Keepers for nearly nine years and when I asked her what she enjoys most about her work, she gave me three reasons:

  1. I love working with different people all the time, working with people on a one-to-one basis and giving them individual time.
  2. Every day is different, no two days are never the same.
  3. I like the focus, the need to be organised, it gives a great sense of satisfaction.

Orla Condren (Operations Manager), Tippula Mangan, Brid Gould (Managing Director)

Mosunmola Kasali is in her final year of studying social care. Not only does she have the time and dedication to be a home carer but she is so good, she represented the Dublin South region as a finalist in the Carer of the Year. Mosunmola believes that carers need to:

1. Have passion – they need to have passion and enthusiasm for their career, they should feel inspired going to work each day.

2. They must have empathy and be able to understand how others are feeling.

3. They must understand that someday they will be old and therefore treat people as they want to be treated or treat all clients as though they are members of their own family.

4. They must be hard workers as caring for someone doesn’t just involve offering companionship, the hour goes by very quickly with lots to do.

5. They must get on well with their colleagues and co-operate well when working a double shift.

John Sheridan (Operations Manager), Mosunmola Kasali, Brid Gould (Managing Director)

Job Vacancies

If you think you would like to work as a home carer, and maybe even be nominated for the Carer of the Year award in the future, do get in touch as we have lots of job vacancies around the country. Whether you are looking to work in school hours, at weekends, mornings and evenings, we may have the perfect job for you. As with Mosumnola’s example, it is a perfect job for someone studying a healthcare or social care qualification as you can work at weekends and evenings and you’re learning all the time as well as adding valuable experience to your curriculum vitae. You can complete the training while working too.


DN7. Daire Byron (Reception), Joanna Sankowska (CCC), Michael Dempsey (CofY), Julie Roberts (Ops Manager).

DN7 Carer of the Year: Interview with Michael Dempsey

Micheal Dempsey retired three years ago and decided that he still had plenty of time and energy on his hands. Not only did he decide to train to be a carer but he works full-time and is so good at his job, he is representing his Dublin 7 office in the Comfort Keepers Carer of the Year Award.

I asked Michael what he enjoyed so much about working as a carer (it was easy to tell he enjoys it) and his answer incorporated the 3 C’s: Communication (being able to chat to people and make a difference to their day), Companionship (making people feel happy in his company) and Care (being able to look after people).

DN7. Daire Byron (Reception), Joanna Sankowska (CCC), Michael Dempsey (CofY), Julie Roberts (Ops Manager).

DN7. Daire Byron (Reception), Joanna Sankowska (CCC), Michael Dempsey (CofY), Julie Roberts (Ops Manager).

He believes that the best carers are good communicators, make people feel comfortable and take their anxiety away. Being able to make a person relax is an important skill and once they enjoy the hour of your company every day, it makes a huge difference to their lives.

Michael sees most of his clients for an hour in the morning and then for half an hour in the evenings. “Men often prefer male carers” he says “We can chat about football and hurling as well as other things”.

Michael was extremely jolly, talkative and positive during the interview. It’s easy to see that he puts people at ease within minutes. We wish him well with the rest of the process. The overall winner will be announced on 13th November.

Jean Bennett Carer of the Year

The Carer of the Year 2015: Jean Bennett

We are delighted to announce that Jean Bennett, from the DSE2 Comfort Keepers office, is the 2015 Carer of the Year. Jean worked in a factory before working as a carer in a nursing home and then coming to work for Comfort Keepers seven years ago. You can also read our recent interview with Jean which took place before the overall winner was announced.

Jean Bennett Carer of the Year

Today I’m going to bring you a snapshot into the life of a home carer as Jean reveals what she does as part of her home care role. If you are considering a career in homecare (and yes, we have vacancies in many of our offices so do apply), you should read this to help you decide if it is the right career for you.

This is typical of Jean’s day for Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. 

At 9 o’clock Jean visits her first client of the day. She clocks in, washes her hands and gives her client breakfast of a cut orange, tea and toast. While that is being eaten, Jean rinses out some clothes and makes the bed. She will then remind her client to take her medication and chats while doing the washing up. She then hoovers and cleans the bathroom. When leaving, she will sometimes leave laundry across to the launderette too to be collected later. Jean leaves around 10:10 and arrives at her next client’s house for 10:30.

While many clients will have visits of 60-90 minutes, Jean stays with this client from 10:30 until about 5:30. Her tasks include sometimes helping her get dressed, applying eyedrops at intervals during the day, washing up, ironing, hoovering, cleaning the bathroom, making the bed, dusting, making lunch and helping her to walk around and bring her to the bathroom. Jean says although there is plenty of time, it can be surprising how quickly the time goes as there’s a lot to be done.

Jean then visits her final client of the day for half an hour. This visit involves heating his dinner, checking on things and having a chat.

Jean works every second Sunday and it’s a very busy day. She helps her first client to shower and get dressed before making breakfast. While he is eating breakfast, she will clean the bathroom, wash the floors and change the bedding. Jean then visits two other clients to help them get dressed if necessary and then help with breakfast before travelling back to the first client to give him lunch. She then has a couple of hours off before making a final visit in the evening around 5:30.

Jean is able to walk to most of her clients and takes the bus to visit one lady. As you can see, it makes for a busy week. She is delighted to have won the Carer of the Year for 2015 and really didn’t expect it as she sees what she does as ‘ordinary’. We wish Jean well with her future career and hope you join with us in congratulating her on her wonderful achievement.

Jean Bennett Comfort Keepers

Interview with Jean Bennett, DSE2 Carer of the Year

Jean Bennett is the DSE2 Carer of the Year. Based in the Nutgrove office, she is representing that area and for 2015, is one of the top 17 home carers. I spoke to Jean to ask her about her role as a home carer, why she enjoys it so much and what representing her office means to her.

Jean Bennett Comfort Keepers

Jean has been working for Comfort Keepers for seven years and previously worked in a nursing home. She works part-time over six days each week and also covers for emergency calls too. Most of her appointments with clients last one hour and others are for part of the day.

Jeans enjoys meeting people, listening to their stories about their lives, their history, their memories. She enjoys looking after other people, cleaning their house, helping them with personal care if they need it, having a cup of tea and a chat.

“I always wanted to be a nurse but after school, I went to work in a factory. I see my career in caring as a dream job. Being a good carer involves having an understanding for older people and having an interest in them as individuals. It’s not always the case but it often happens that these skills come with maturity and the best carers are those aged over 35.”

Jean is delighted to be recognised by her office staff like this, it’s a great achievement and although she is nervous, it is lovely to be appreciated. We wish her well with the next stage.

Philomena Heffernan Limerick

Home Care: ‘Making A Difference’ says Philomena Heffernan

Philomena Heffernan is the Limerick Carer of the Year for 2015 and we’d like to extend our congratulations to her. Philomena has been working in care for over a decade: five years in a nursing home, two years providing care privately and almost four years for Comfort Keepers Home Care.

Philomena Heffernan Limerick

She says she gets great satisfaction from her job and admits that she is definitely a people person. Somewhat bashful at achieving her award, she does admit that she loves that her roles makes a difference in people’s lives. She sees her clients thrive and remain content by being able to stay in their own homes. Philomena enjoys the variety of seeing different clients and within the relaxed atmosphere of their homes.

Philomena takes one day off midweek and works the weekend days. Her children are grown now and have their own lives. She finds it is nice to have a whole day off mid week so she can go to the bank and get things done that aren’t necessarily possible if off at the weekend.

We wish Philomena well for the rest of the process. The overall winner for the 2015 Carer of the Year will be announced on 13th November.

DSW3 Carer of the Year

Meet Mark Graham: DSW3 Carer of the Year

Mark Graham has been working as a homecarer for 3 years and this year, in 2015, he is the DSW3 Carer of the Year. We’d like to congratulate Mark on his achievements. After all, as a home care company, we are as good as our carers. It is our carers who are the people on the road, treating clients as if they were their family members, and spreading the reputation that Comfort Keepers is a company to be trusted when it comes to looking for someone to care for your parents, aunts or uncles.

DSW3 Carer of the Year

Mark became a carer when he cared for his uncle. He then decided to train for a professional role and now works full-time hours for Comfort Keepers, usually working mornings until lunch-time, having some time off in the afternoon and then working again in the evenings.

Talking to Mark, you’d know he is patient and easy-going. As he says himself, he loves the job so it quite often doesn’t feel like work. He believes the best carers are good communicators and can empathise with their clients. They put themselves into their shoes so they understand what is needed in terms of care. Most appointments are for one hour although they can vary from thirty minutes to two hours. The care required can vary: sometimes it is helping clients to shower and shave, sometimes it’s accompanying them for a walk or doing the crossword together over a cup of tea.

Comfort Keepers is often looking for more carers and yes, we need more male carers too. If you believe you are right for the job, do check out our careers page and get in touch.

CNT Mary Dooley

From Book-Keeping To Caring: A Winning Role for Mary

Mary Dooley worked as a book-keeper before she decided to turn her skills to caring over six years ago. She had contemplated nursing in the past but went down the road of accounts for many years. As her sister works as a home carer, she had a good idea what was involved, taking the leap some years ago. The result: she loves it. In fact, she loves it so much and is so good at it, Mary is representing the Clare and North Tipperary office as that office Carer of the Year for 2015.

CNT Mary Dooley

I asked Mary why she enjoys it so much and you can just tell by the joy in her voice that her work is a labour of love. She loves chatting to people, getting to know them well. She gets huge satisfaction from “putting a smile on people’s faces”. She loves helping them to take care with their appearance, co-ordinating their clothes so they feel and look smart. It can happen, of course, that sometimes a client may not want to get tidied up or have a shower but they always admit to feeling better and feeling smart once Mary has helped them. She gets on well with her clients and still visits one client in a nursing home once or twice a week to say hello and see how she is. It’s always sad when a client passes away or moves into a nursing home, that’s the one element of the job that can take some getting used to.

Mary works an average of thirty hours a week, working two or three hours at the weekend days and usually mornings and some evenings during the week. The appointments are usually one to two hours and sometimes Mary will see a client both morning and evening. Her days usually start at 8:30 or 9am and two or three times a week, she finishes at 9pm.

We’d like to congratulate Mary on her achievements and wish her well.

If you would like to train to be a carer, if you feel that you always wanted to nurse or that caring is the right job for you, you can complete your training while working so do get in touch.

DN6 Team. Vanessa Scott (CCC), Sorcha Fowler (ECCC), Sandra Kennedy (CofY), Carla Ward (CCC), Julie Roberts (Ops Manager).

Why Homecare Is A Dream Job: We Interview Sandra Kennedy

Sandra Kennedy has been a homecarer for seven years, working from the DN6 offices and has been announced as the 2015 Carer of the Year for the DN6 office, a wonderful achievement. Having previously worked in a factory, Sandra decided to become a home carer when her children were small. She works hard and finds the flexibility of working as a home carer suits their family life. She goes to her first client for 9am after she drops her children to school. She sees clients until 2:30pm and then collects her children from school. She can spend time helping them with homework and get dinner before heading out for her evening appointments when her husband finishes work and can look after the children. Sandra works a couple of hours on Saturdays and tends to work a full day on a Sunday as her husband is at home to look after the children. She does take a full day off mid week, a day to catch up on everything and I hope she manages a bit of ‘me time’.

DN6 Team. Vanessa Scott (CCC), Sorcha Fowler (ECCC), Sandra Kennedy (CofY), Carla Ward (CCC), Julie Roberts (Ops Manager).

Sandra works as a home carer and a reviewer. Working as a reviewer means that she completes spot checks on other carers and also completes reviews of the care plan with the client (and their family as appropriate). When I asked Sandra for her opinion on the top qualities for good home carers, she sees being reliable, being punctual (as some older people can become distressed if their carer is late), being patient and understanding are essential qualities. Sandra clearly loves being a home carer, she finds it to be a rewarding career and loves meeting people on a daily basis.

We wish Sandra well and congratulate her again on her wonderful achievements. The overall winner will be announced on Friday 13th November.


Interview with Cork Carer of the Year: Tippula Mangan

Today we bring you an interview with Tippula Mangan, representing Cork in the Carer of the Year Award. As you may know, one carer represents each of the 17 Comfort Keepers Home Care offices and from those seventeen, four will be the regional finalists and the overall winner will be announced on 13th November.

Cork Tippula

Tippula has been working with Comfort Keepers for nearly nine years and when I asked her what she enjoys most about her work, she gave me three reasons:

  1. I love working with different people all the time, working with people on a one-to-one basis and giving them individual time.
  2. Every day is different, no two days are never the same.
  3. I like the focus, the need to be organised, it gives a great sense of satisfaction.

Tippula works part-time and also does cover work so she can be quite busy. She starts at 9am and generally works until 2pm. She then has a few hours break until she sees some clients in the evening. She’s able to be flexible and enjoys the fact that her work can be so flexible.

When I asked Tippula how she felt when she heard she was representing Cork, she replied “I was shocked, I really thought they were joking. All carers have to be honest, reliable, respectful, sensitive and of course, caring and I’m really honoured that my office think I’m worthy of representing them.”

A typical appointment with a client starts with greeting them and having a quick chat. “I often realise after a minute or two that I nearly forgot to log in” she laughs. The tasks vary from cooking, doing laundry, some cleaning, helping them take a shower, doing some ironing, to having time to sit down and have a cup of tea and a chat. “You have to be regimental and organised” she adds “or it would be really hard to fit it all in”.

We wish Tippula well in the rest of the judging process.