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95 year old blogger Florence McGillicuddy is the Silver Surfer of 2019

Age Action Silver Surfer Awards Florence McGillicuddy with Ballyroan Boys NS

95-Year-Old Blogger

Receives Overall Award

At

2019 Age Action Silver Surfer Awards

Supported by DCU Age-Friendly University

 

 

 

95 year-old Florence McGillicuddy from Rathfarnham, in Dublin, is the overall Age Action Silver Surfer Award winner. Florence who blogs on GrandadOnline.com was presented with his award in recognition of his contribution to community life through his use of technology, at a ceremony this morning in Dublin City University, who co-sponsored the Awards as part of the DCU Age-Friendly University Initiative.

 

Florence, who also won the Golden IT Award as one of the older nominees, has developed a unique relationship with the children in the local Ballyroan Boys’ School over the past three years through the internet. Florence brings history to life for the young students as he researches historic facts about their city and composes the lesson in an email which the children’s teacher helps the students read. The students have learned about what life was like in Dublin when Florence was growing up and events such as what happened to Nelson’s Pillar, an airplane crash in Terenure, and he even organises school tours to cigarette factories. In turn, the children will write back to Florence in old fashioned handwritten letter format which is a wonderful display of generations coming together and learning from each other.  

 

With half of Irish people aged between 65 and 74 having never used the internet and internet use among those aged over 75 negligible, Age Action organises the Silver Surfer Awards to highlight digital literacy issues amongst older people. For those older people who do get online it has the potential to change their lives, as the Silver Surfer Awards demonstrate, with people participating in the digital economy, accessing public services, discovering new hobbies and maintaining an active role in their communities.

  

Paddy Connolly, CEO of Age Action, said: “Each nominee here today is an inspiration. They are challenging the stereotype of ageing, showing that there is no barrier you cannot overcome to life long learning as they have embraced new technologies, new ways to communicate and combat social exclusion. Access to the internet has the potential to transform lives, enabling us to keep in contact with family and old friends, or to make new ones, to explore new hobbies and interests, even empowering us to start businesses or to use our skills for the benefit of our communities. The Silver Surfers have not only transformed their own lives but, in doing so, they have shown that digital literacy is an important element of positive ageing.”

 

Professor Brian MacCraith, President DCU said: “These awards are a reminder of the hugely positive impact the internet can have on the lives of our older citizens. DCU is particularly pleased to host the tenth annual Silver Surfer Awards, as they resonate with the values of the Age Friendly University initiative, which was pioneered by DCU, and now has more than 50 member universities worldwide.”

 

Seven other awards were presented during the ceremony:

 

 

1.National Silver Surfer Award winner (and winner of the Golden IT Award)

Florence McGillicuddy 

 

Florence McGillicuddy is 95 years of age and is a blogger from Rathfarnham in Dublin publishing Grandadonline.com. Motivated by his love of history and education, he uses his IT skills to research history and record his own reflections on growing up in Dublin which he shares via email with the children in the local Ballyroan Boys’ School. Bringing history to life for the young students has made Flor an integral part of the school community and fostered a rewarding intergenerational learning experience for all.

 

2.Community Champion Award                                                                          

Margaret Culloty  

Margaret Culloty from Firies Co Kerry is 77 years of age and is the County Secretary of Kerry Community Games for the past 23 years. As the National Community Games requires that all participating children be registered online, Margaret has had to learn how to do this for over 3000 children participating in sporting and cultural events at county level.

Margaret faced this challenge with vigour and is now responsible for the coordination of the online Kerry registration system ensuring that all children are registered for their individual or team events at local and National level as well as getting a web page up and running and a Facebook account. She has been described as one in a million and didn't let new technology put her out of the position of County Secretary.

3.Hobbies on the Net

Paddy McAuliffe, Paddy Tobin and Paddy Buckley

‘The 3 Paddy’s’ from Mallow in Co. Cork have learned how to shoot and edit short films, a skill they are now using to preserve a legacy of memories for peoples’ families to be passed on to future generations. They are documenting the memories of older people in their community, editing in photos or the person’s life and locality, to produce a film. The film covers the person’s life story which can then be shared digitally with the wider community and family members.  To date they have recorded the life stories of almost 30 older people in the region.

4.Getting Started Award

Eleanor Lynch

Eleanor Lynch from Cork was profoundly deaf from the age of 40 to mid 60’s but 14 years ago, thanks to advances in medicine and technology, she had a cochlear implant operation. When she was “switched on” Eleanor had to learn how to hear again with the assistance of this new technology.  It took lots of perseverance, but she mastered it and can now communicate fairly easily. After she mastered the implant technology, she had the confidence to learn how to use a mobile phone and now uses a smart phone like a teenager! The laptop has made living alone a lot easier as she does her all banking and pays all her bills online and does not have to go out on wet cold days. Technology and her own bravery and determination has made an amazing difference to Eleanor’s life. 

5.IT Tutor of the Year Award

Sr. Margaret Kiely   

Sr. Margaret is a Sister of Mercy who worked as a principal nurse tutor for 14 years at the Mercy Hospital in Cork.   Following this she trained as an addiction counsellor in MN, USA. She founded Tabor Lodge - a treatment centre in Cork for persons with alcohol, drug and gambling addictions and it was here that she first saw the need for a computerised system.   Following a few lessons she mastered the PC.   Sr. Margaret observed that a number of staff and residents were struggling using smart phones and computers. She sourced funding for a tutor and initially she ran 10 four-week classes with 8 students per class. She is now a volunteer tutor with Age Action and manages the attendance records and presents certificates at the end of the courses.

6.School IT Tutor of the Year Award

Bandon Grammar School  

The students of the Transition Year class in Bandon Grammar School have been tutoring older learners how to get online. At every lesson, the young TY students teach their older learners something new from how to use Google Maps to downloading music, looking up Government websites which are all sites of great relevance and interest to the learners.

The intergenerational nature of the class creates an energetic atmosphere in which to learn. People have remarked that the school break-time is a favourite where the older learners and younger tutors engage in conversation and swap stories.

Raising the Roof - Homes for All Ages

Raise the Roof Rally for Housing 18 May

Preparing to Raise the Roof

Age Action, motivated by intergenerational solidarity, is joining the Raise the Roof campaign to tackle the continuing housing crisis that is affecting people of all ages.  People are being mobilised through trade unions and community organisations, to stage a major national rally on the housing crisis under the banner of Raise the Roof, in Dublin on Saturday May 18.

When people take an interest in what is happening in their local community, seek solutions to problems and initiate improvements they are being active citizens. Community is the foundational building block of society and housing is fundamental to community. Ireland’s housing crisis is rightly dominating public discourse as it undermines our ability to live with dignity as part of a community.  Ireland’s changing demographic brings with it a changing demand for homes that meet the needs of an ageing population.

The Government’s failure to deliver on a whole of Government approach to ageing and provide good quality social housing to meet demand has resulted in older people feeling subjected to negative, ageist language about their needs and wishes for suitable housing and health supports as is evidenced in the narrative on ‘down-sizing’ or ‘right-sizing’.

In the 60s and 70s the State implemented policies to support owner occupation of housing. People on lower incomes were able to buy their own homes which went some way to addressing wealth inequalities. According to Professor Tony Fahey, writing in Social Justice Ireland’s book ‘From Here to Where?’, by the year 2000 even low-income households owned substantial housing wealth and were less disadvantaged by inequalities in housing wealth than they were by inequalities in income.

Most of the growing population of young private renters today grew up in homes that were owned by their parents. Prof Fahey identified the essential features of secure long-term housing as being affordable, and having secure tenure. As he says, “today’s private rented housing has neither of these features”.

Looking at the future needs of an ageing population, for those aged 50-54 almost 10% were renting from private landlords at the time of Census 2016. It can be assumed that these people will continue in the rental market beyond their working years which leaves them in a vulnerable situation.

We encourage any and all of you who can to be active citizens and march with us on Saturday May 18 in a show of intergenerational solidarity. We will be gathering at 1pm at Parnell Square. You will find us behind an Age Action banner. At 2pm we will march down O'Connell Street towards Custom House Quay and join the Rally for Housing (location to be confirmed) by 3pm.

For more information about the campaign visit www.raisetheroof.ie

 

 

Taking Better Care - CCPC issues Guidelines on Nursing Home Contracts of Care

Age Action welcomes the publication of the Unfair Terms Guidelines for contracts of care in nursing homes by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC).

The CCPC guidelines, published on 7 May,  are a first step in improving transparency, clarity and certainty for consumers. The guidelines will help people to know their rights under consumer law and to begin a dialogue with a nursing home in cases where there is a concern regarding the fairness of the contractare. The guidelines inform nursing home providers of their obligations and responsibilities under consumer protection law in terms of the provision and cost of additional services in nursing homes such as social activities. The guidelines have legal status under the Competition and Consumer Protection Act 2007 and will help both providers and consumers understand their responsibilities and rights.

The decision to move into a nursing home is a significant one that is often made with urgency and in stressful circumstances. Age Action has been aware of, and concerned at, the unclear position of some nursing home residents and their relatives who are unsure what services and charges they are legally bound to pay for. Complaints continue to come to us where residents and families are unhappy being charged for services they do not need or use. Age Action has been actively working on this issue since 2017 when it published a briefing paper Regulating Nursing Home Charges. Understanding that the nursing home provider is entitled to charge for additional services that it provides beyond those covered by the NHSS, Age Action highlighted the fact that the amounts being charged, the transparency of the system and, in some cases, the dubious legality of the charge can cause serious problems for nursing home residents and their families. Charges are normally set out in the resident’s contract for care but there was nothing to prevent the nursing home from altering the contract once the resident is in place and imposing additional charges, which can be stressful for residents and their families.

The CCPC will send a copy of the guidelines to all nursing home owners this week and a booklet is available for consumers on the CCPC website. The CCPC website has a dedicated information section where a consumer booklet, standard template letter to help people initiate a dialogue and or complaint against a nursing home and a sample letter that can be used as a guide can be found.

 

ENDS

Easter Raffle Winners

Congratulations to the winners of our Easter Raffle and a heartfelt thank you to all who supported the raffle!

Easter Raffle 2019 Winners

1st Prize €1500
P Dunne
Dun Laoghaire

2nd Prize €1000
C Gordon
Dublin 12

3rd Prize €500
E Byrne
Portlaoise

Sellers €100
K O’Sullivan
Dublin 16

 

Age Action Welcomes the launch of the Housing Options for our Ageing Population Policy Statement

Responding to today’s launch of the Housing Options for our Ageing Population Policy Statement, Paddy Connolly, CEO of Age Action, Ireland’s leading advocacy organisation  said;

“This is a welcome joint initiative by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government and the Department of Health because it begins to address the needs of our ageing population in terms of ageing in place.  The commitment to provide real choice to people through a catalogue of housing with supports is welcome, especially the recognition that an ageing population has diverse needs.”

He continued “Age Action believes that we should have a choice to age in place which means the creation of age friendly environments, including the provision of support services locally, which enable people to remain in their own homes and in communities for longer. The wider support needs of people as we age was to be addressed through the National Positive Ageing Strategy which was published in 2013 and is yet to be implemented.”

Christmas Raffle Winners

Congratulations to the winners of this year's Christmas Raffle. And thanks to all who bought or sold tickets for your support of the work of Age Action. We hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a Peaceful New Year.

The winners were:

1st Prize €1500
S Kinane
Dublin 18

2nd Prize €1000
M O’ Donovan
Cork

3rd Prize €500
D Bernard
Dublin 5

Sellers €100
E Healy
Waterford

Budget 2019

Budget 2019

Age Action calls for a fair budget on 9th October that protects older people

Age Action, Ireland’s leading advocacy organisation for older people, has called on the Government to protect the incomes of older people and to invest in home care.

“Next week the Government must deliver a budget which protects older people, one that recognises the contribution made over decades by more than 600,000 workers, homemakers, carers and entrepreneurs who are now pensioners” said Anna McCabe, Interim CEO, Age Action.

Publishing its top priorities for Budget 2019 the organisation is highlighting the need to increase the state pension to meet the rising costs of living for older people and to tackle inadequate home care provision.

Rising Costs of Living

“Pensioners are increasingly worried about being able to pay their essential bills or of being forced into a nursing home because there are no home supports available” said Anna McCabe, Interim CEO, Age Action.

She went on “A growing number of older people worry about making ends meet in the face of rising costs such as healthcare, energy bills and insurance. Many of these increased costs are solely related to age.”

Older people are slow to benefit from the improved economic climate and are showing a slower recovery from poverty. Cuts made in recent years to income supports such as the Fuel Allowance, the Bereavement Grant and the Christmas Bonus, combined with new taxes and rising prices, are causing many older people to remain at risk of poverty.

Earlier this year hundreds of Age Action members met across the country and agreed their priorities for this year’s budget, which have been costed and published today:

  1. Increase the weekly State Pension by €5 per week to build towards achieving the Government's commitment in the National Pensions Framework of a State Pension set at 35 per cent of average weekly earnings [Cost: €160.9 million]
  2. Increase the cost of the Living Alone Allowance by €3 per week [Cost: €32.8 million]
  3. Reverse the changes introduced in 2012 to the State Pension system reducing the number of bands from six to four [Cost: €73 million]
  4. Increase the Home Supports budget by 26% to begin to meet unmet need. [Cost: €106 million].
  5. As a first step towards reinstating the over 70s medical card, expand the range of services provided by the GP visit card to include prescriptions to those over 70 [Cost: €61.5 million].
  6. Remove the GMS prescription charge for over 70s medical card holders [Cost: €42 - 44 million]

Crisis in Homecare

Age Action today also highlighted the need for investment in supports to enable older people to remain in their homes for longer.

The numbers of home help hours and people in receipt of the service have dropped since 2008, despite the sharp growth in our ageing population.

“Every year 20,000 more people turn 65, and we will need an additional 7.2 million Home Help Hours a year by 2030. This unmet need is particularly worrying given that 6,458 older people were waiting for new and additional Home Support services as of May of this year” said Anna McCabe.

Ireland needs a Statutory Home Care Scheme

“Home help hours and home care packages are simply not available in many parts of the country, with provision of care varying greatly across the regions. This means many older people simply do not have the option of being cared for at home, more families are struggling to cope without home help, and there is more pressure on carers.”

“We need a functioning home care scheme now.”

Along with its key priorities, Age Action also published detailed submissions it made to a number of individual government departments, which are available online at www.ageaction.ie/budget2019 ### For more information contact Corona Joyce 087 968 2449 or advocacy@ageaction.ie

 

Summer Raffle Winners

Congratulations to the winners of our Summer Raffle. We're so grateful to everyone who participated and who raised more than 18,000 euro to support older people in Ireland.

This year's winners were:

1st Prize winner €1,500

S Deegan, Dublin

2nd Prize winner €1,000

A Parks, Dublin

3rd Prize winner €500

M Dangerfield, Dublin

And the winner of our Sellers Prize was:

Sellers Prize €100

M Kane, Galway, €100

Thank you to all who supported the raffle, this is one of our biggest and most reliable fundraisers, so your support makes all the difference.

 

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