Third Age Ireland Services during COVID 19
With the outbreak of Covid-19, Third Age – managers, staff and volunteers – have adapted each programme to ensure continuity of service and to provide new solutions for a changed time.
Third Age has been developing innovative programmes in Ireland since 1988, emphasising the importance of community and family, and the value of older people in our society. We work to identify issues, provide creative solutions and opportunities, and meet the needs of people in their third age.
Across all programmes, we are working with the health, social, emotional and psychological needs of older people, and our services are responding to their new needs in the light of the current – and ever changing – health and social situation. Every Third Age programme is now devoted to this end, offering maximum support to the state. Please find details below:
This is Ireland’s only dedicated peer to peer telephone services for older people with 180 trained older volunteers working every day from 10am to 10pm. This service is funded by the HSE. In recent weeks we have seen an increase of up to 200% in calls dealing with stress, anxiety and isolation. We issue twice daily Covid-19 updates to volunteers on best health practice, information other community supports, tips on how to cocoon successfully and other helpful referrals. Our information is accurate and keeps pace with the changing dynamic. Our callers tell us we are their lifeline, Freefone number is 1800 80 45 91.
This is a community support programme in partnership with the HSE where trained Companions visit vulnerable older people at home. We are currently providing telephone support. Each client receives two calls per week during which Companions use a 20 Question Health App to monitor ongoing health. This is an early warning tool, and we ensure that if necessary each client is immediately connected to the right community care. We are currently working with a US stakeholder to repurpose our Health App to identify complaints indicative of early Covid-19 infection.
This programme has 1,250 trained tutors teaching free conversational classes in English each week to over 4,000 migrants, refugee and asylum seekers. Classes have now moved online to teaching groups through Zoom, Office Teams and WhatsApp. We provide updated teaching materials and teaching ideas each week, thereby remaining connected with students and maintaining the conversations that build English language skills. We are also using our network to forward information from the HSE, the Department of Social Protection and the Department of Justice, helping our students understand what is happening in Ireland now.
Navigate your Work Future:
This programme, in partnership with the global consulting firm, Accenture, began as a way of enabling older people (50+) to plan their working life. The supports include career coaching, interview preparation, networking and future work trend information. The priority has changed in the current climate, and we are harnessing our network and Accenture’s expertise to provide a suite of on-line supports including Accenture Digital skills and their Skills 2 Succeed Academy programmes. We are also being used by the Department of Social Protection to disseminate critical information rapidly to those who have lost their jobs as a result of the crisis.
Third Age Summerhill:
Our headquarters in Summerhill, Co Meath, co-located with the Primary Care Centre, is now working virtually. We are leading a community-based volunteer support system for members and local older people. We are keeping contact, phoning our members weekly, organising delivery of shopping and medicines, and beginning to reframe a practical sense of community cocooning. We have a growing database of older people and happy to extend this service to all who need it. In addition to this, our Digital Skills trainers are maintaining telephone contact with their database of older students.
All our services continue to operate and to provide critical support to those most at risk from Covid-19. We have committed staff, a strong reputation and wonderful support from our volunteer teams. We are determined to do what all can to minimise the impact on our older population and to be as much of a service to the state as possible.
Third Age has worked for over 30 years for social inclusion and to promote the contribution of everyone in society irrespective of age or gender. We believe there is a part for everyone to play, and at this time of global crisis, we will not be found wanting.
Challenging ourselves and each other to respond effectively in a national crisis
Collaborating with statutory, voluntary, community, business and private organisations
Making volunteer led action matter
For more information, contact Anne Dempsey Communications Manager 087-7450721, www.thirdageireland.ie