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Delivering Christmas magic to elderly people

Padraig Conlon 22 Dec 2021

Friends of the Elderly, the national charity dedicated to combating loneliness and isolation amongst the elderly, is delivering hot Christmas meals to elderly people across the greater Dublin area today.

The community Garda in Santry will join the organization’s volunteers to personally deliver these meals directly to people’s homes to ensure they have a little Christmas magic.

Bernie Curran, Operations Manager at Friends of the Elderly, explains, ‘For many elderly people Christmas is a time of immense loneliness and silence.’

This year, the loneliness is especially painful.

“Due to new covid restrictions, we needed to postpone our annual Christmas dinner—the only Christmas dinner many older people have.

“We realized we needed to do something to help, but we couldn’t do it alone,” said Ms. Curran, who says today would not be possible without support from the community.

“We were approached by the Bonnington Hotel, who have supported us in the past and once again they stepped-up. Then, The Seed Potato Company of Ireland and Gahan Meats offered to help as well.”

Ms. Curran is also calling on the public to check in on their older family and friends this Christmas to keep them safe and to break the monotonous sound of silence, just as Ms. Curran and her team do every day.

In addition to their national call service, Friends of the Elderly delivered 3,000 essential food and care packages across the Dublin area this year with the support of nearly 280 volunteers.

They also provided much-needed home visitations and a programme of social activities throughout the year, in line with government restrictions.

Friends of the Elderly was established in Dublin in 1980. Its mission is to help alleviate loneliness and isolation among the elderly. With over 150,000 older people living alone in Ireland, too many experience unbearable loneliness. Of those living alone, 23% do not see or speak with someone every day, and 40% use the TV as their main source of company.

Through a network of volunteers, Friends of the Elderly aims to:

  • Alleviate loneliness amongst isolated older people through friendship
  • Promote respect for each person’s dignity
  • Foster independence and help the elderly to live at home for as long as possible
  • Liaise with statutory agencies and voluntary groups in an effort to improve the quality of life of those referred to Friends of the Elderly
  • Improve the services provided for the elderly by highlighting the difficulties they face
  • Increase awareness of the important contribution elderly people have to offer

 

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