Let me be clear that statutory services are playing a blinder in this crisis. The HSE and our hospitals are often much maligned but in the last 6 weeks they have shown their true worth and above all the quality of people working in them.

However, one thing we are also seeing, is the power of local communities and neighbours, reacting to local needs in a way and speed, that statutory services could never hope to emulate. Local people finding local solutions for local problems.

It’s the way our society use to work for centuries before it began to change and the State had to step in to assume roles and services that previously, communities did for themselves.

We need to try and ensure that we hold on to this new found “Let’s help ourselves” attitude, not totally divorced from the State but rather being supported by the State. It was Ronald Regan who famously said the nine most terrifying words in the English language are “I’m from the government and I’m here to help”.

Support from Government is needed but not through top down dictums and the fitting of people into preconfigured services but rather through consultation with local communities about how their existing strengths and assets can be fostered and liberated and then for State support to be introduced to nurture that. Its more about trusting the LOCAL to lead and manage.

Looking specifically at home care, this has always been part of Home Care Direct’s philosophy. Empowering local carers to provide care and support in their own communities, directly to families who need it. No corporate processes, structures and costs, just person to person relationships.

We like to think that we are providing choice for carers and families to decide what is most appropriate for them. Wouldn’t it be a good idea for the HSE to support that choice by allowing families the option of using their home care packages directly with local carers where appropriate.

This kind of care relationship has huge benefits for local communities and people. It could help to activate much needed local resources into the home care sector. Take a fictional Mary who lives in Tullamore. Mary is heavily involved in the local GAA club, community centre and other local groups. Mary knows everyone and everyone knows Mary. Mary wants to contribute more to her community but isn’t that interested in working with a corporate home care provider for barely above the minimum wage. However, she would be very interested in working for herself, setting her own rates and availability and feeling more ownership of her contribution.

At Home Care Direct, we liberate the Marys of this world, by taking away the complications of working for yourself and helping Marys manage their own stable of clients. We enable local carers take control of their careers while at the same time, contributing to their own communities.