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Know Your Rights: Adapting a home for an older person or person with a disability




Q. I need to make some adaptions to my house as I am getting older and my mobility is not as good as it used to be. My spouse has a disability. How can I go about making the house more accessible and are there any financial supports to carry out this work?

A. Some common alterations that can help make your home more suitable for someone with a disability or limited mobility include:

* Widening doorways and passageways
* Moving light switches, door handles, doorbells and entry phones to convenient heights
* Installing grab rails for support
* Adapting bathroom facilities (for example, removing a bath and installing a level access shower)
* Moving bathroom or bedroom facilities to the ground floor
* Installing ramps to avoid using steps
* Ensuring that external approaches such as paths or drives have a firm, level surface
* Installing a stair-lift or through-floor lift
* Getting specialised furniture, like an adjustable bed or high-support chairs
* Installing alert devices for someone who is deaf or hard of hearing

Before making changes to your home you should consult an occupational therapist (OT) who will assess your daily living needs and advise on adaptations to your home. You can contact an OT through the community care section of your Local Health Office. Alternatively, you may want to hire an OT privately, as there can be a waiting list for the public OT service. The Association of Occupational Therapists of Ireland (AOTI) maintains a list of OTs in private practice, and if you get a grant for the adaptations you may be able to get back some of the costs of hiring the OT.
Other health professionals, such as public health nurses and physiotherapists, can also advise you on specialised equipment and home adaptations, based on both your short-term and long-term needs.

A Healthy Age Friendly Homes Coordinator can also provide information and advice on living independently, adapting your home or moving to a new home that is more suitable to your needs. Kerry County Council is one of the local authorities which is piloting this initiative.

If you need to add a structure or an extra room, you may need to apply for planning permission. Adapting your home may be expensive, particularly if structural change is involved. There are several ways to reduce the financial burden:

• You may be eligible for a means-tested Housing Adaptation Grant for People with a Disability. The maximum grant is €30,000.
• For smaller alterations, such as grab rails, exterior handrails or a stair-lift, the Mobility Aids Grant Scheme (also means-tested) provides a maximum grant of €6,000.
• The means tested Housing Aid for Older Persons Scheme is used to improve the condition of an older person's home. The type of work that is covered depends on your local authority and may include structural repairs, re-wiring and upgrades to heating systems. For information on what is covered in your area, contact Kerry County Council
• You may qualify for a local authority home improvement loan to improve, repair or extend your home.
• If you have a medical card or a long-term illness card, you may be entitled to get essential items of equipment free of charge. First, you must be assessed by a relevant professional, such as an occupational therapist or a physiotherapist.
• If you are paying for equipment needed for someone with a disability, you may be able to claim a VAT refund.
• Depending on the work being done, you may be eligible for the Better Energy Warmer Homes Scheme or the Better Energy Homes Scheme.

Know Your Rights has been compiled by Citizens Information Kerry which provides a free and confidential service to the public.

If you need further information about any of the issues raised here or you have other questions, you can call a member of the local Citizens Information Service in Kerry on 0761 07 7860. They will be happy to assist you and if necessary arrange an appointment for you.

The offices are staffed from Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm. Alternatively you can email on or log on to for further information.

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How to have the best skincare routine at home

By Jill O’Donoghue from Killarney Toning and Beauty Studio Home care is essential for glowing, youthful skin. It’s like brushing your teeth, it must be done twice a day. Step […]




By Jill O’Donoghue from Killarney Toning and Beauty Studio

Home care is essential for glowing, youthful skin. It’s like brushing your teeth, it must be done twice a day.

Step one: Cleanse to remove sweat, oil, dirt and other pollutants that your skin naturally collects throughout the day and night. It’s the first step in your skincare routine and shouldn’t be rushed.

How to do it; Cleanse your skin in the morning and in the evening to keep your pores clear and your face fresh. Your cleanser may vary based on skin type, but with all cleansers, the general consensus is to apply them using an upward, circular motion so as to prevent wrinkles from forming. Make sure your hands are clean in order to prevent excess dirt from entering your pores.

Step two: There is a lot of confusion around toner, and when you’re first establishing a daily skincare routine, it may even seem unnecessary. But most experts agree that toning is an important addition to your skin care routine with beneficial effects for your skin. After you cleanse your skin of impurities, toner removes any residue left behind by the cleanser as well as any make-up or oils your cleanser might have missed. The added cleansing effects help prepare your skin to absorb moisturiser and minimise the appearance of pores. Some toners may have PH balancing and antiseptic effects as well. Apply toner right after you have cleansed your skin while it is still damp. The best way to apply it is with a cotton pad or cotton ball, simply soaking cotton pad with toner and wiping upward and out, starting at your neck.

Step 3: Exfoliate. Our skin is constantly shedding millions of skin cells every day, but sometimes those cells can build up on the surface of our skin and need some extra help to be removed. Exfoliating removes these dead skin cells that have accumulated in our pores. If you struggle with blackheads, acne or breakouts, you’re not going to want to miss this step.

It’s best to exfoliate after toning and before moisturising. You should exfoliate one to three times a week, but this depends on your skin type and how it reacts to exfoliation. Experiment and find what works best for you. There are chemical exfoliators and granule exfoliators such as your traditional sugar or salt scrub. Both can be effective tools for removing dead skin cells, but chemical exfoliating ingredients like AHA and BHA are often more effective in getting deep into your pores and removing buildup.

Properly cleansed skin will allow your next steps e.g. serums and moisturisers get to the right layers of the skin where they will be most effective.

For a skincare consultation or more advice just ask Jill on 064 6632966.

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Annual Christmas motorbike charity road run launched

The Kerry Bikers are hosting their annual Christmas Bike Run on December 18. The event will raise funds for St Francis’ Special School at St Mary of the Angels in […]




The Kerry Bikers are hosting their annual Christmas Bike Run on December 18.

The event will raise funds for St Francis’ Special School at St Mary of the Angels in Beaufort and Eagle Lodge in Tralee.

Now in its sixth year, the run, which is organised by an amalgamation of several Kerry motorcycle clubs under the banner of Kerry Bikers, will visit Killarney.

The run gets underway at 10.30am from Tralee. The first stop off is in Sheahan’s Centra on the Muckross Road where the Tralee group will be joined by local motorcyclists before setting off on a yet to be decided route.

“We will announce the route in Killarney. Last year we went to Killorglin, Farranfore and Castleisland. This year Abbeyfeale and Listowel may be in reach and if so we will make donations to Nano Nagle Special School too,” organiser Dave Foley said.

Over one hundred motorcycles are expected to take part in the run. Last year the full convoy measured 1.6km from start to finish.

“We hope to exceed that this year,” added Foley


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