Many people do not wish to end their days in a nursing home but sometimes there may be no alternative depending on the individual’s needs.

Some alternatives include:

  • HSE Home Support Services (HSS).
  • Private homecare providers/agencies.
  • Individual home carers.
  • Newer technology companies such as HaloCare.
  • HaloCare is a new Irish company.

    According to CEO of Nursing Home Ireland Tadhg Daly: “What is needed is a continuum of care involving all levels, such as day care, meals on wheels, home care, a myriad of services that older people require.

    He went on to say: “More regulation is required in the homecare sector, as there is no statutory regulation in place currently.”


    The HSE HSS (formally called Home Care Packages) aims to support older people to remain in their own homes. It provides support for everyday tasks including getting in and out of bed, dressing and undressing, personal care such as showering and shaving. The support given depends on the individual needs, and is provided by the HSE or an approved external provider.

    The HSS is free. You do not need a medical card to apply and your income will not be assessed. However, if you need extra home supports above the level approved by the HSE, you will have to fund those yourself.

    The HSS is available to people aged 65 or more, (sometimes under 65 years), based on a care needs assessment, which is carried out by a healthcare professional (such as a public health nurse). This will help decide whether you are eligible for the support or not and the level of care that is required.

    If approved, the homecare will be provided by the HSE or a HSE-approved home support provider. You will be able to choose from a list of these for your local area. All HSS approved care providers for older people are listed on the HSE website.

    According to a HSE spokesperson for the Dublin/west Wicklow/Kildare HSS area: “This whole process can take some time. Some cases can be prioritised, dependant on individual needs, but it can take quite a few weeks to get approval.”

    In this particular area, all home care is provided by approved agencies, (such as Home Instead, Comfort Keepers, Caremark, etc). The HSE also confirmed they are currently experiencing capacity issues in this area, again delaying the process further.


    HaloCare, a new innovative technology, aims to fill the gap between professional home carers and traditional devices such as wearable panic buttons. The technology helps elderly people live independently at home for longer. It involves wireless devices/sensors being installed in the home of an elderly person which is capable of learning the scene of a particular room without the need for intrusive cameras.

    The HaloCare care hub is based in Carlow.

    It constantly looks for outliers, such as change in posture of the individual, the amount of steps they take, or the speed involved. The technology is voice-activated, allowing users to call out if they need assistance. It can also sense the need for assistance. The device will alert the care hub in Carlow to carry out the protocol agreed with the individuals and their families.

    One of the founders of HaloCare, David Walsh says: “When an elderly person is in their home and they feel isolated or depressed, it has a severe impact on their physical and mental wellbeing.”

    David Walsh is CEO of HaloCare.

    HaloCare also offers supports to keep elderly people connected, it has devised a tablet with audio and video capabilities. The cost of HaloCare depends on the suite of services that is selected. It is designed for individual needs and the cost ranges from €8 to €20 per day.

    Reader’s question

    Dear Money Mentor

    I am a widow in my late 70s, and live with my son and his family on the family farm. I own some investments, shares and have a small personal pension. I also get the State contributory pension. I have some health issues and worry about getting dementia. Would it be a good idea to put an Enduring Power of Attorney in place just in case? I am not sure what it entails. I would appreciate your advice.


    Margaret writes

    Hi Sarah,

    With an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) you appoint a person(s) (the attorney(s)), to make personal care decisions on your behalf, once you are no longer fully mentally capable of making decisions yourself. This is done through a solicitor and there are legal safeguards in place which helps to protect you against abuse. The EPA will only take affect if you (the donor), become mentally incapacitated and you are no longer able to manage your own affairs. The attorney may make certain personal care decisions on your behalf – they must be in your best interests. You can give your attorney full powers in relation to all your affairs, or with restrictions.

    You must have the mental capacity to execute an EPA. If you haven’t put an EPA in place and you become mentally incapacitated, the person who looks after your interests can apply to the High Court to have you made a ward of court.

    Putting an EPA in place is a complex procedure involving a solicitor and a doctor. You will need professional advice and the courts have a general supervisory role in the implementation of the power. At least two people must be notified of the making of an EPA, separate to your appointed attorney(s).

    One of these notified people must be a relative. Some people are not allowed to be appointed as an attorney, such as someone who is bankrupt or people under the age of 18. The EPA will need to be registered and only comes into force when this is done.

    I think it is a good idea to have this in place, even if you never need it. The main purpose of an EPA is to enable someone of your choosing to have the entitlement to manage your financial and personal affairs in the event you lose your mental capacity at some time in the future.

    Kind regards,


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