Read more about the impact of Senior Help Line

Posted on 2nd February 2017

While many callers to Senior Help Line experience the isolation of a life lived alone, others are surrounded by family difficulties and feel they have nowhere to turn. Senior Help Line is Ireland’s only confidential telephone service for older people. This is a small section of recent calls...

‘I am very worried about my son’s drinking, I fear for him and hate to see him inebriated’. Joan was listened to, and referred to Al Anon which supports relatives.

 ‘My wife is becoming very forgetful, and I am worried she might be getting Alzheimer disease’ John shared his worries and concerns, and decided he now wants confide in his family

‘My sister and I had a stupid misunderstanding and we’re not speaking. I’m terribly upset’.  In explaining what had happened, Nuala saw the row as more her fault. She decided to ring her sister and apologise. 

‘I think my sister is stealing from our mother, and Mum is afraid to confront it’. Elizabeth was given time to discuss what action she would like to take, and received information about elder abuse services which she may pursue.

‘My husband was mugged last week and is now very frightened and tearful. I don’t feel our doctor was sympathetic’. First time caller, Judy, was given a lot of time to talk.  She said she felt more able to support her husband, and felt more patient and understanding towards him.  

‘This is the first anniversary of my brother’s death. I was his carer and I am feeling very down’. Dermot talked at length about his brother, his sense of loss and the life they had. At the end of the call, he said he felt much better and would call again.

Senior Help Line is proof of the truth of the maxim that ‘a trouble shared is a trouble halved’. The service received over 20,000 calls last year from a wide range of older people – married, single, widowed and separated – living throughout Ireland. Many callers live alone and contact the help line regularly for company and support, as they have very few people in their lives.

Others phone because they are struggling with family illness, conflict or other worries and need to talk them over with a compassionate outsider.   To each caller, the Senior Help Line trained older volunteer offers time, empathy and attentive listening.  Some callers may be signposted to relevant services.  For others, the very fact of telling their story and being heard may be all they need. 

Damian Leneghan is Programme Manager of Senior Help Line: ‘We are regarded as a primary health care service, working with other frontline community services helping to keep older people at home living independent lives as long as possible. 

Senior Help Line is available every day of the year from 10am to 10pm.  All calls are confidential and no call will cost more than 30 cent. We are open when many statutory services are closed, so don’t be alone with a worry, share it with us, and feel the burden lift a little’, he said.

Senior Help Line LoCall 1850 440 444 open 10am to 10pm every day of the year   

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