No matter what age you are, feeling loved and cared for is important to all of us.
But at Christmas, companionship and support from friends and family means even more than usual – which is why feeling you are forgotten about or invisible is even harsher than at other times.
Older people often feel ignored or invisible and the festive season often exacerbates this sense of loneliness and isolation at a time that is synonymous with family and togetherness.
We work hard all year round to help older people face the different challenges that growing older brings, and with your help we want to make sure that no older person feels invisible, isolated or that they just don’t count.
This Christmas we are asking you to just take a moment to remember the older people in your family or community for whom Christmas might be a more difficult time.
By giving them as little as 5 minutes of your time, you can make a huge difference in brightening an older person’s day this Christmas!
How We Help
Betty was 70 when she joined an Age Action Getting Started IT class in her local library nine years ago. Although nervous of new technology, her motivation was to keep in touch with her only daughter’s family who had moved to Australia during the recession. They bought her a smart phone and encouraged her to take classes so she could Skype her granddaughters, who she adored and missed. Betty picked it up in no time with the help of her one-to-one tutor and soon was able to see the girls and chat to her daughter every day. “It’s like being able to pop round whenever I want!”. Since then, her new skill had opened “a whole new world” to Betty who enjoys shopping online, chatgroups and researching knitting patterns. But it could never replace having family close by and, now she had lost her husband Jerry, she reluctantly had to admit that she felt lonely a lot, particularly on special days like Christmas. “All I want for Christmas is to have my family around the Christmas tree again.”
Then she got the news that her daughter’s family were coming to visit for Christmas. “It was like winning the lottery, I was so excited - three whole weeks of having them here with me over Christmas!” Betty excitedly marked the date on her calendar and set to work to make it the best Christmas ever
Betty contacted Age Action to see if she could use the Care & Repair Service to get a few little jobs done around the house that she couldn’t manage herself. The Care and Repair Service provides free practical help with DIY and household tasks to older people.
Betty couldn’t believe it when the Age Action staff member said they had volunteers willing to decorate Christmas trees for older people who weren’t able to do this themselves.
When our volunteers arrived, they quickly set about getting the house warm, cosy and festive for Betty. They chatted as they worked and once Betty was happy with the decorations, they enjoyed a mince pie together in front of the brightly lit Christmas Tree. Betty couldn’t thank them enough “You’re like my very own Christmas Elves!”.
The volunteers offered to come around after Christmas to take the tree down and do any other tasks that Betty needed help with.
Betty felt so lucky as she welcomed her family back home with huge hugs! She told them about her Age Action Elves as they sat in front of the “beautiful” Christmas tree after their long flight and said, “it’s the best Christmas present ever to have you all home with me for Christmas!”
How You can Help
Age Action’s vision is to make Ireland the best place in the world to grow older for everyone. We want to be there to show the true spirit of Christmas to an older person who is on their own, struggling to cope, isolated or at risk from a range of threats and dangers in their home. Our dedicated staff and volunteers work hard to reach out to as many older people in need of support as they can over the winter. But we need help to do this!
Thanks to the generosity of people like YOU, last year we provided 18,000 hours of Care & Repair support to older people in need around Ireland.
This year we are appealing to you to ask you to help us continue this vital service and do just A LITTLE BIT MORE to help older people around Ireland in the New Year.
Just €25 will fund a Care & Repair job for an older person in 2020 and allow them to stay independent, safe and secure in their own home for as long as they want.