Mayo Farmers Month

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Croí, the Heart & Stroke Charity, along with Healthy Ireland, Pobal and Teagasc, invited the Mayo farming community to get involved and make heart healthy changes during Mayo Farmers Month, which launched Dec 29, 2020.

See the free resources below!

Mayo Farmers Month Programme

The Croí Mayo Farmers Month health and wellbeing programme, delivered online earlier this year, was specifically designed with Irish farmers in mind. The Croí Health Team worked with a group of Mayo farmers to help them improve their heart health and reduce their risk for cardiovascular disease through exercise, diet and lifestyle changes.

The programme was well-received by all who participated. Check out the videos below to hear from two farmers who completed the programme and kindly shared their experiences: Michael McNamara, from Clare Island; and Seamus McGrenra, from Claremorris.

Michael McNamara, Clare Island

Seamus McGrenra, Claremorris

Health & Mind

Mental Health Resources

  • Alone is good for older people who are lonely. alone.ie. 0818 222 024 low cost number 8-8. Email: hello@alone.ie
  • Depression & Bipolar Disorder Support. www.aware.ie. Tel:  Freephone 1800 80 48 48 (available 7 days, 10am-10pm). Email: supportmail@aware.ie
  • Awareness Head to Toe is a completely voluntary committee formed to promote mental health, general heath and farm safety awareness throughout the rural community. https://awarenessheadtotoe.com/
  • Pieta House. Free therapeutic support to people who are in suicidal distress and those who engage in self-harm. T: 1800 247 247. W: pieta.ie
  • The Samaritans. Samaritans is a unique charity dedicated to reducing feelings of isolation and disconnection that can lead to suicide. They’re there 24/7, before, during and after a crisis and they make sure there’s always someone there, for anyone who needs someone. samaritans.org/ireland email: jo@samaritans.ie. Call 116 123.
  • 50808 is a free 24/7 text service, providing everything from a calming chat to immediate support for people going through a mental health or emotional crisis – big or small. Text HELLO to 50808 to start a conversation, any time – day or night. https://text50808.ie/
  • ifa.ie/mental-health
  • mentalhealthireland.ie
  • reachout.com
  • spunout.ie
  • hse.ie/mental-health

Co. Mayo Resources

  • Family Centre Castlebar. Call 094 9025900
  • Community psychology for children & Adolescents. Call 094 9042281
  • Child & Adolescent Mental Health service. Call Ballina 096 20399 / Castlebar 0949042656
  • Adult mental health service. Call 094 9042621 (Admin office)
  • Mindspace Mayo is a free and confidential support service for young people’s mental health and wellbeing. Mindspace’s aim is to support young people age. https://www.mindspacemayo.ie
  • Mayo University Hospital 094 9021733
  • Additional information for further counselling and support services please see mayobewell.ie
  • Emergency services 999 or 112

FREE Heart Health Webinar for Farmers

On Thursday, January 21st at 7pm, Croí held a free webinar on heart health. Experts from the Croí Health Team shared information on diet, exercise and lifestyle. Watch it here now!

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The Healthy Ireland Fund supported by the Department of Health and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs

Mayo Farmers Month – A Healthier You for 2021

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Croí, the Heart & Stroke Charity, along with Healthy Ireland, Pobal and Teagasc, invite the farming community in Mayo to get involved and make heart healthy changes this Mayo Farmers Month, launching December 29.

Looking after your overall health and wellbeing is important for everyone, but especially for farmers as they are at increased risk of heart disease and stroke says local heart and stroke charity, Croí, ahead of Mayo Farmers Month this January.

Almost half of Irish farmers have high cholesterol and high blood pressure, and 86% are overweight or are living with obesity – all major risk factors! Despite knowing all these numbers and statistics, Irish farmers identify themselves as “healthy”.

Farmers have historically been seen as a physically active group, but daily “sitting time” for farmers can be as high as 8+ hours. “We know that the occurrence of heart disease, cardiac events and stroke is significantly higher among Irish farmers compared to other groups of employees,” says Croí Physiotherapist, Denise Dunne.

To mark Mayo Farmers Month, Croí invites you to attend a FREE virtual Webinar on Thursday January 21st at 7pm to learn more about heart health, stress management and overall health and wellbeing with a panel of local nursing and allied health professional experts.

Announcing details of the event, Dunne says: “This is a great opportunity to learn more about the medical and lifestyle risk factors for heart disease and stroke, the impact these risk factors can have on your overall health and wellbeing and more importantly the steps you can take to reduce your risk. People usually think of cardiovascular disease as an older person’s problem but small changes matter and it’s never too late to start.”

Check out the Croí website at www.croi.ie/farmers for lots of free resources and to register for the free webinar. Or call Croí on 091-544310 to reserve your space.

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The Healthy Ireland Fund supported by the Department of Health and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs

A Christmas Message from Croí CEO, Neil Johnson

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I would like to take this opportunity to convey our sincere thanks to all those who supported us through this past year. It has been a very difficult year for everyone, not least those living with or affected by cardiovascular diseases (heart, stroke, diabetes & obesity). The Covid-19 pandemic has taken its toll in so many ways, it’s almost impossible to comprehend just how things have changed so quickly.

Like all charities, this year Croí faced unprecedented challenges at a time when it was most needed by those it supports. All face-to-face activity across our health programmes, patient and carer supports, research, education and fundraising events came to an abrupt halt in March. Literally overnight, our Heart & Stroke Centre in Newcastle became an empty shell, so in support of the national emergency we offered it to the HSE for use as a central contact tracing centre. Then our health team swung into action and pivoted as many of our health programmes and patient supports as possible to online ‘virtual’ delivery. In fact, they managed to very quickly create and deliver very effective programmes to high-risk groups and even launched a first-in-Ireland approach to services like cardiac rehabilitation. Additionally, despite all the challenges, we are glad to now be providing ‘virtual’ delivery of exercise classes, lifestyle change programmes, stroke support meetings and much more.

The biggest impact of Covid-19 globally has been on those living with known cardiovascular conditions. In the early days of the pandemic, extremely high levels of fear, anxiety, loneliness and isolation was experienced by those for whom access to primary and secondary care was severely interrupted; hospital appointments and procedures were postponed or cancelled and visits to those in hospital or care homes was denied. In parallel, many people experienced heart and stroke events but due to their fears of contracting the virus they delayed or even avoided seeking medical attention with resulting worse outcomes. Against this background we experienced a huge jump in the number of calls we were receiving from patients and family members so we launched a free support service, Heartlink West, which has now supported thousands of people across the West via daily telephone, online and virtual consultations. This new service allows people living with heart disease and stroke, or those concerned about their heart health, to contact Croí and connect with our multidisciplinary health team of nurses, dietitians, physiotherapists and exercise specialists. While the Heartlink West service will close for a short period over the Christmas holidays, it will open again on January 6th. (Tel 091-544310 or www.croi.ie)

Despite all the challenges and uncertainties faced by everyone over the past year, we are inspired and heartened by the many who continued to contribute financially at a time when they themselves were struggling. We couldn’t survive without this partnership and we wish to convey our deep appreciation and gratitude to all our donors, volunteers, corporate and business supporters who continued to give this year despite their own very difficult circumstances. We got through 2020 thanks to huge public support and a highly dedicated and committed staff, voluntary board of directors and a large team of volunteers. We don’t take this support for granted and we realise how fortunate we are to have this. We are preparing now for 2021 and we are committed to continuing to make a difference to the lives of those living with or affected by heart disease and stroke.

 

Wishing everyone a happy, healthy and peaceful Christmas and the very best for the new year.

Many thanks,

 

Neil Johnson,
Chief Executive, Croí

Raffle Winners 2020

Golden Ticket Prize Draw

The Annual Croí Golden Ticket Raffle results were announced on Monday, December 21. The draw took place at 4:00pm in Croí House, with a total prize fund of €5,000.

 

Raffle Winners Announced! Huge congratulations to our winners:

1st prize, €2,000 – winner is Brendan Mulligan, Galway
2nd prize, €1,000 – winner is Catherine Owens, Galway
3rd prize, €500 – winner is Tina Connolly, Galway
4th prize, €250 – winner is Jimmy Brennan, Galway
5th prize, €250 – winner is Martin Bourke, Mayo
6th – 15th prize, €100 – winners are: Pat Duffy, Galway; Eoin Kennington, Galway; Marian ní Neachtain. Galway; Teresa Murphy; Michael McElwaine, Donegal; Martin Gaffey, Galway; Anne Treacy, Roscommon; Joey Carroll, Cork; Mason Makensie, Donegal; Alice Cunnane, Mayo.

Seller’s prizes, winning a €500 Corrib Oil voucher: Wilf Regan, Galway; Michael Loughrey, Galway; Maureen Butler, Mayo.

We are delighted to announce that the 2020 Croí Golden Ticket Raffle has raised an incredible €90,000, making this our biggest raffle ever and our biggest fundraising event of 2020!

Thank you to everyone who purchased or sold tickets. This year, we introduced an online option, which allowed our sellers to continue to support this appeal during these “socially-distant” times. We are overwhelmed by the incredible support shown by our loyal supporters after what was our most challenging year in fundraising. A big thanks also to our sponsors Coen Steel and Corrib Oil for their generous support of the prizes.

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Croí’s Top Tips for a Healthy Christmas!

While Christmas doesn’t have a reputation for being the healthiest time of the year, there are a few ways that you can make it that bit healthier and maintain some healthy habits over the festive season.

christmastreeFirstly, try not to stress if your exercise or healthy eating routine goes out the window. It’s 2 weeks out of 52 in the year and after the year we’ve had, it’s time for a bit of a celebration! However, be mindful that the celebration doesn’t stretch out to a month or more..

Be wary of how early you stock up on your favourite boxes of Christmas chocolates, biscuits and sweets. While we may have the best intentions of leaving them unopened until Christmas week, does that ever really happen? And with us all likely having a lot less visitors and guests calling to our houses over the festive period, we probably don’t need to have as many treats in stock ‘for the guests’…

Watch out for the high levels of salt and saturated fat in common finger foods such as pastries, sausage rolls, quiches, spring rolls, mini pizzas, cheeses and cured meats. If in doubt, use our handy traffic light card to read your food labels or have a look at our healthier canapé suggestions. Excess salt in our diet can lead to raised blood pressure while high intakes of saturated fat lead to raised cholesterol levels and weight gain.

Be mindful of how much alcohol you consume. Alcohol can negatively effect our physical and mental health and can impact on our relationships. With Christmas 2020 bound to be a different one for many reasons, be mindful of how much alcohol you are having and how it affects you. Why not try some of the many alcohol free beers, wines, spirits and sparkling wine that are available in most supermarkets now or try some of these tasty mocktail recipes? For more information on alcohol click here.

Try to keep some sort of routine. Whether that be sticking to a healthy breakfast rather than the leftovers from the selection box, getting out for a daily walk or scheduling in a quick home workout, make sure you have some structure to your day and take some time out to focus on you. Why not have a look at some our Croí at home workouts.

While Christmas generally isn’t the ideal time for focusing on a healthy diet, there are some ways you can ensure that you maintaining healthy habits and nourishing your body. For example, make sure you include some fruit and vegetables every day. Why not add some lovely winter berries or fruit salad to your breakfast or have a fruit based dessert. Make the most of the lovely in season vegetables on offer this time of year. Not sure what’s in season? Click here.

Be mindful of your portion sizes. Because there are so many tasty foods on offer during Christmas, it can be hard to resist sampling a bit of everything. A simple way of being able to have a bit of what you fancy but still being mindful of your waistline is to watch your portion sizes. This goes for everything from the portion size of your dinner, to the amount of chocolates you have while watching your favourite Christmas movie to the glass of wine you have in the evening. Try to be mindful of your portion sizes and your hunger levels – check out our feature on mindful eating here.

We hope you have a healthy and happy Christmas!

Healthy Christmas Recipes

Tired of endless scrolling, looking for inspiration for the perfect recipe for finger food? Or, trying your hand at cocktail making, but can’t seem to find the right recipe? Don’t worry!

Croí have compiled all of our favourite recipes for you to try over the Christmas season. We are bound to have every recipe you need for any dish you desire! Oh, and did we mention? They’re also healthy and delicious!

Crudités and Dips

Why not change things up a bit this year and instead of the usual fat and salt laden finger foods, experiment with a selection of healthier crudités and dips. Here’s some links to some of our favourites from the internet:

To complete your healthy platter, why not add:

  • Chopped up carrots, peppers and celery to use for dipping.
  • Some unsalted crackers and breadsticks.
  • Finish off your platter with a selection of unsalted mixed nuts, sun-dried tomatoes, olives and fruit such as grapes, mixed berries, figs and cherry tomatoes for a pop of colour.

Healthier Canape Selection

If you’re trying to be mindful of your salt and fat intake over the Christmas period, why not try some healthier finger food alternatives. We’ve linked some of our favourites below:

Mocktails

This year, lots of people are trying alcohol free alternatives to their favourite beers, wines and spirits and there are so many different options to choose from. Why not get creative and whip up an alcohol-free cocktail at home? From virgin mojitos to alcohol free passionfruit martinis, we’ve linked some our favourites below:

*Cocktails and mocktails are high in sugar, so avoid or use sugar free mixers if you have diabetes.

Christmas Dinner

Arguably, the best meal of the year. So, even if you are trying to keep it relatively healthy and keep the salt and fat content to a minimum, there is no reason to skimp on flavours. Luckily, turkey is a lean meat, low in saturated fat and the typical side dishes of potato and vegetables do not need to be cooked in butter, goose fat or covered in gravy to be tasty. Play around with flavours and take some inspiration from the recipes linked below, such as these paprika roast potatoes, chill charred brussels sprouts, lemon thyme carrots and mulled red cabbage with clementine’s.

Healthier Desserts

Why not mix up your Christmas dessert offerings and include some slightly healthier ones. Think delicious fruit based desserts, such as grilled pineapple, baked apples, lighter crumbles and fruity pavlovas.

Turkey Leftovers

Not sure what to make with your leftover turkey? Sick of turkey curry? This year why not get creative and whip up a Vietnamese Turkey Pho, Fruity Moroccan Turkey Tagine or even a Korean Turkey Rice Pot. Just because you can’t travel doesn’t mean your tastebuds can’t!

Happy Cooking!

Two in a Row: Galway-based charity wins Research Paper of the Year!

NIPC
Prof J William McEvoy, Medical and Research Director, NIPC

The National Institute for Prevention and Cardiovascular Health (NIPC), based in the Croí Centre, Galway, has won the Research Paper of the Year Award at the 2020 Irish Healthcare Awards for the second year in a row!

NIPC, a subsidiary of Croí, was awarded the winning research paper for their JAMA-published medical paper challenging recent guidelines defining high blood pressure. The NIPC and NUI Galway investigation, led by Prof J William McEvoy, Medical and Research Director of the NIPC, called into question the validity of recent changes to treatment recommendations for a certain type of blood pressure patient, highlighting that up to 150,000 Irish patients may not need this additional treatment.

Announced on December 1, the Irish Healthcare Awards recognise innovation and excellence in the Irish healthcare sector and are Ireland’s leading Awards, now in their 19th year. Speaking about the awards, Neil Johnson, NIPC & Croí CEO, said: “We are delighted to win this award for the second year in a row! It’s great recognition for Irish cardiovascular disease prevention and the important work being undertaken at NIPC and NUI Galway.”

This award adds to NIPC’s winning streak at the Irish Healthcare Awards – in 2019, Croí and NIPC scooped three top awards. Learn more about the work at the National Institute for Prevention and Cardiovascular Health by visiting www.nipc.ie.

Patients Voice Concerns over COVID-19 Vaccine Prioritisation

Croí joins Patient Organisations to Urge Government to Prioritise People with Chronic and Rare Diseases, of All Ages, in Rollout of COVID-19 Vaccines

A coalition of patient organisations, including Croí, has today written to An Taoiseach and to the Chair of the High-Level Task Force on Vaccination and Immunisation to urge that people with chronic and/or rare diseases, of all ages, be treated as the highest priority in determining early vaccine recipients. Already, many countries around the globe are including this group as a top priority and it is vital that Ireland likewise recognises the importance of doing so.

The coalition is also calling for representatives from the public to be allowed join the membership of the Task Force and for patient organisations and vulnerable group leaders to be urgently engaged in dialogue.

The coalition of fifteen patient organisations comprises: Alone, Alpha 1 Foundation, Asthma Society of Ireland, COPD Support Ireland, Diabetes Ireland, Disability Federation of Ireland, Family Carers Ireland, Irish Cancer Society, Irish Heart Foundation, IPPOSI, Mental Health Ireland, The Neurological Alliance of Ireland, Rare Diseases Ireland, Sage Advocacy, and The West of Ireland Cardiac and Stroke Foundation.

Vaccination Priority

Derick Mitchell, Chief Executive of IPPOSI (the Irish Platform for Patients’ Organisations, Science and Industry), comments:

“Many chronic and/or rare disease patients manage one or more life-threatening and/or life-limiting conditions. Many have been cocooning since news of the pandemic broke in early 2020. This has had devasting effects for patients and their families – emotional, physical, and financial.

“These are patients who cannot participate in the ‘new normal’ in any way, they cannot ‘risk it’. They cannot rely on social distancing, on mask wearing, or on hand sanitising. To protect their physical health, they must cocoon or self-isolate – completely, indefinitely, and some alone.

“Patients have endured this level of isolation for ten months now and it is critical that they not endure this for a moment longer than is absolutely necessary. We strongly urge the Government and the High-Level Task Force to consider the needs of some of the most vulnerable in society, of all ages, when making its final decisions as to what groups will receive immediate vaccination priority.”

Task Force Membership

Vicky McGrath, Chief Executive of Rare Diseases Ireland, comments:

“The welcome developments announced in recent weeks by several COVID-19 vaccine candidates are forcing us as a society to address some difficult questions.

“As things stand, dialogue and decisions around the priority groups in line for future COVID-19 vaccines are being taken by a select number of departmental and public authority officials. The 15-member task force includes the Department of Health, the HSE, the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation, the Health Regulatory Authority, the IDA, the Dublin Airport Authority, but not a single representative from the public, or from patient or vulnerable groups. We are therefore calling for the appointment of two representatives from the public to join the membership of the Task Force and for patient organisations and vulnerable group leaders to be included in an ongoing dialogue.”

Kieran O’Leary, Chief Executive of Diabetes Ireland, adds:

“We all recognise that, at least initially, there may not be enough vaccines for a widespread immunisation programme. Demand between countries, and within countries, will outstrip supply. Nationally, we will have to prioritise who receives the first allocation of vaccines.

“Allocation must be made on the basis of agreed ethical values and clinical evidence, in a transparent and accountable environment, where public, patient and vulnerable group representatives are able to voice the perspectives of the most at risk in our society.”

Distressing Time

Benat Broderick, Cystic Fibrosis patient advocate, shares:

“As a person living with Cystic Fibrosis, the pandemic has left me with no other choice but to cocoon since early February, due to the risk posed to my personal health. As others have benefitted from an easing of restrictions or a return to a new normal, I however, continue to endure a very worrying and draining set of circumstances. My only hope of re-joining society in any meaningful way, is access to a vaccine. I therefore fully support the call for patients and vulnerable people to be placed among those in the highest category for vaccination.”