An organisation that works with older people who are lonely is calling on members of the public to get involved with a new campaign that wants to tackle this issue.
An estimated 400,000 people in Ireland suffer from loneliness and this tends to increase with age. According to findings from The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA), 36% of those aged 50-64 feel lonely often or some of the time and this figure rises to 45% in those aged 75 years and older.
Making Connections is a non-profit organisaton that works with health services and community groups to alleviate loneliness and isolation in the community. It has launched a new campaign, ‘Give an Hour, Gain an Hour' , which is asking people to give an hour of their time to tap into the wisdom of older generations, to help tackle loneliness.
Between now and when the clocks go back on October 27, the organisation is urging people to spend an hour in the company of an older relative, neighbour or other community member.
Results from the Making Connections befriending programme suggest major benefits when it comes to older people sharing their wisdom, life experiences and skills with a younger generation.
"The older population is one of Ireland's greatest untapped resources and this year, Making Connections is highlighting their contribution. The ‘Give an Hour, Gain an Hour' campaign is inviting you to benefit from those nuggets of wisdom and life experiences, and share them online so that others can benefit too. Older people have seen and lived through so much and can help us avoid mistakes through their experiences," explained Making Connections CEO, Mary O'Donohue.
The organisation insisted that spending just one hour with someone can help tackle loneliness, isolation and stereotypes. It is calling on people to do the following:
-Connect - contact an older person who you know but do not normally have time for
-Give - spend an hour together anywhere you like, such as at home or in a café
-Gain - ask their advice on anything you like and something that you can share online on their behalf
-Post - using the hashtag, #advicetomyolderself, share the advice on social media.
Making Connections will then collect and publish this advice on its website and share it on Twitter @connections_ie, for the benefit of all. The Making Connections website can be viewed here