We are a family of three consisting of Mieke and her mother Ina, both originally from The Netherlands, and Miekes husband Alan who is Irish. Ina has a small apartment connected to our house, she eats with us in the evenings and spends time both in her own place and in the main house.
From mid-November Mieke will be away on granny duties, a new family member will come and join the ranks :) We are therefore hoping to find someone who would like to join us from mid-November to Mid-December.
Mieke used to travel a lot for her work but is in the process of changing her career. For the last while, she has been at home, looking after her mum, the gardens, and going on courses. Alan works part-time as a housing officer for the social sector (helping people get affordable and safe housing) but is often working from home.
Ina loved being outdoors, she loves animals, flowers, playing the piano, and singing, but she is unable to enjoy most of her loves because of her illness and pain. Recently she had a fall again and is now in pain most of the time. She has osteoporosis, is quite feeble on her feet, and in general very frail. Most days she gets care in the morning, afternoons, and evenings, so there is not a lot of hands-on care needed for her.
We live in East Clare, close to the beautiful, lakeside village of Mountshannon. We have wonderful countryside around us, with rolling hills, forests and of course the lake. It is NOT easy to get to a city, there are hardly any bus connections to Limerick and Ennis and which are about 45 minutes by car.
We do have a very good community around us, with a lot of family and friends. Our house is in general not a quiet house, lots of people travel through :)
We have two very old dogs - Florian and Diego, two cats - Mimsy and Charlie, and a few chickens. We also have a big garden with a tunnel (greenhouse), a vegetable patch, and some fruit trees.
Our son and his wife live (on and off) on our patch of land in a mobile home, they are both in their mid-twenties and generally very happy socialising with anyone who lives with us. They have a very big, very enthusiastic and friendly dog, so it is important to like dogs!
DIY and building projects
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help around the house
You will find a warm welcome with us and hope you will be a part of our family and community during your stay. We live very rurally, but our house is not often empty :)
Alan loves entertaining - he plays the guitar - sometimes in a band, he loves games and storytelling.
Mieke knows a lot about gardening and nature, she loves foraging, using wild foods, and being/living outside. She loves hiking, and going on outdoor adventures.
We have the lovely small village of Mountshannon 2KM away from our house - perfect walking distance, in the village, are two bars, there is a small harbour and a little park, in the summer it is a hub for swimming and gatherings.
The main reason we are looking for a volunteer is to ensure that we can still have Ina at home with us.
Your main task would be to help us look after Ina. It is important that you like caring and being with a sweet elderly person. Mieke will be away for a few weeks from mid-November, so we would be delighted if someone would like to join us during this time for at least one month or 6 weeks, Ina does become quite attached to the volunteers.
=> spend time with Ina - It would be nice to sit with her watching some TV, just have a chat, help her to keep her flower patch pretty, and/or have short walks with her.
Other tasks could be:
=> Cooking dinner when Mieke isn't home
=> help clean the house and Ina´s room once or twice a week
=> Help around the place with small outdoor projects and gardening jobs.
=> Be home when Alan and Mieke are both out - this won't be often, but it will give us some necessary freedom, Ina does not feel very happy on her own in the house
=> Our vegetable garden will need a good bit of care, so we are looking for someone who loves working in a garden
Where helping us care for Ina would be the main task, we like to discover together with you what other tasks would be most suited to you... each volunteer has been a very different experience for us, as there is a lot of freedom in designing your own "tasks" within the general needs we have. If you are willing to learn new skills that would be perfect!
Ina's English is not so good anymore, so even though we are an English-speaking household, it would be beneficial if you could speak/understand dutch or flemish but not essential.
We would like a minimum stay of a month so you could really experience our daily life and connect with Ina.
We prefer to have Skype or Zoom contact before you arrive to get to know each other a bit better.
You will have your own small double room in the house and we share the bathroom.
Mountshannon is beautifully situated on the shores of Lough Derg in County Clare looking out to Holy Island - which has the ruins of a 9th-century monastic settlement. Further away, there is the wonderful West Coast of Ireland with its beaches and The Cliffs of Moher.
We live in a walkers paradise with plenty of hiking and walking ways all around us. The cities of Ennis, Limerick and Galway are around 45 minutes to 1 hour by car. We are happy to show you the surroundings or bring you to the bus stop so you can travel a bit by yourself.
You will be part of our family so you are welcome to join us when we go to the pub, a party, a movie night or other activities if you like!
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week
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