The way home to Portumna

portumna-ireland- Google mapThere’s really nothing that Kairos, Google and a good friend can’t accomplish together, as Dave Newman found when he started looking for sheltered housing for his old house-mate, Michael…

“Michael and I had lived in the same Kairos house (Gabriel Street) in south London for 10 years, so when director Mossie Lyons asked if I could help Michael find sheltered accommodation, I agreed to do my best.

“Michael had mentioned moving back to the town of his birth, Loughrea in Ireland, but it seemed like a fanciful idea at best. However, I said I’d look into it and I started Googling.

“An estate agent in Ireland told me that there was nothing suitable in Loughrea but mentioned a retirement village in nearby Portumna. I managed to get Michael on the waiting list, so I started researching long-term healthcare, establishing residency, opening bank accounts, along with obtaining a social security number and the like.

“Then in early August, I was informed there was a unit available but Michael would need an assessment visit. It was time for Michael to decide if he wanted to travel to Ireland. We had no idea if he would be accepted, nor if he would like it. So we decided to just go over and take it from there. I made the travel, car hire and hotel arrangements pretty quickly and easily online.

“So, on 22 August, about six months after my first email to Ireland, Michael and I travelled to Portumna. Over three very hectic days, Michael was accepted and he was clearly happy to move into a fully furnished, beautiful large bungalow, in a gorgeous setting. He opened a bank account and transferred all his financial affairs over there. He was able to register with a doctor and we bought everything he needed for his new home.

“I flew back three days after we had landed, knowing that Michael was in a very good place and both I and Kairos had kept all our promises. Michael had returned home after 62 years and there was a sparkle in his eyes and a smile on his face.”