Claregalway & District Day Care Centre is an unassuming, bright, bungalow in the heart of Claregalway village. Inside the building is a community of volunteers working to facilitate a group of elderly people as they socialise and relax. The Centre is located beside the Claregalway Dental Surgery and opposite the church on the N17.
Volunteer Geraldine Carr (pictured above with local TD Noel Grealish) realised there was much need for such a Centre when she got together with a group, did some research and discovered “there are about 6,000 elderly people in our vicinity—a ten mile radius of Claregalway—living alone.”
The Centre is up and running since October 2012, but their official opening day was on Wednesday June 26th, which was launched by Keith Finnegan from Galway Bay FM (pictured above with Mayor of County Galway Liam Carroll and local volunteer Seamus McNulty). For more photos from the event, check out our photo gallery on facebook.
The place has a homely feel, with a large living room and a quaint kitchen that looks onto a flowery back garden. It provides the elderly people with an accessible, friendly place to visit and chat with others. It is run almost entirely by volunteers, with one paid carer. There are currently two representatives from the Tús initiative there on placement and people from the Irish Ambulance Training Institute can also do work placement at the centre.
It is open four days a week, on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, from 9.30am–4pm.
The Day Care Centre hosts various activities and educational programmes such as art & crafts, card games, computer training, health and hygiene information and medical support. A laundry service and a GP are also available on site.
Transport and hot meals are included each day for €10. There is also a Foot Therapist who comes to the Centre and provides foot massages for a discount price.
The group engage in activities to keep them mentally active. One example is mental aerobics. One session of mental aerobics involved the trying on of hats. The clients were given a hat each and asked “why are you wearing the hat?” They each made up a story, as imaginative as they wished.
The clients enjoy going to the shop, and they play Bingo every Friday. There is a relaxation room to chill out and listen to some calming music if they wish to do so.
The Centre has received funding from The National Lottery and Galway County Council, which enabled them to buy an 18-seater Mercedes bus that transports each individual to the Centre and home. All the drivers are volunteers.
“We wouldn’t be operating as well as we are if it wasn’t for the Charity Shop,” adds Geraldine. The Never Too Old Charity Shop in Cois Chláir Shopping Centre (behind The Arches Hotel) is run completely by about 30–40 volunteers, so 100% goes towards the Centre. It is open six days a week (closed Sundays) and donations of goods are gratefully accepted.
The clients have also begun making a quilt out of the many ties the shop has received.
Local musicians have visited the Centre and “the Gardaí came in and gave a talk on protecting yourself and your home,” said Mrs Carr. “Further down the line we want to get people in to do talks on nutrition,” she added.
Clients can be referred to the Centre by a public health nurse, their GP, family, or they can simply call in themselves.
Check out our photo archive of the development of Claregalway & District Day Care Centre here.