Calls for extra support for Ireland’s elderly this Christmas

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Friends of the Elderly, the national charity dedicated to combating loneliness and social isolation amongst the elderly, is calling on the public to make an extra effort to check in on their elderly neighbours.

With Covid case numbers remaining high across the country, the charity is preparing for a further surge in calls over the coming month as many older people face the prospect of another winter of isolation and limited social activity.

The charity, which launched its Christmas fundraising appeal today, has already seen requests for its nationwide friendly call service double to over 50,000 during the pandemic.

Former Irish Olympic athlete and Friends of the Elderly Ambassador Ronnie Delany is lending his support to their fundraising call.

“Many people still remember my athletic days and they’ll sometimes come over and have a chat with me.

“I am one of the lucky ones, as many older people have nobody to chat to.

“The crisis of loneliness is becoming all the more widespread in Ireland. But luckily – unlike so many problems – this is one we can solve,” he said.

Bernie Curran, Operations Manager, Friends of the Elderly, said “Over 150,000 live alone in Ireland. We know from the jump in demand for our services over the past 20 months that a growing number of people are relying on services like ours. We help to break the silence of loneliness they experience every day, which is especially hard for them to bear during the festive season.”

In addition to their national call service, Friends of the Elderly, supported by a team of almost 280 volunteers delivered 3,000 essential food and care packages within the greater Dublin area this year.

It also provides much-needed home visitations and a social activities’ programme in line with ongoing social restrictions.

Ms Curran says that public support is vital to ensure the charity, which recently celebrated its 40th Anniversary, can meet the growing demand for its services.

The public can support the Friends of the Elderly fundraising appeal by donating online at www.friendsoftheelderly.ie – post a donation to 25 Bolton Street, Dublin 1 or telephone 01-8731855.

If any older person is in need of the charity’s help, please contact the free phone number 01-8731855.

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