What our callers are telling us

Posted on 31st May 2016

In the week when Helen McEntee TD is appointed Minister of State for Mental Health & Older People, Senior Help Line conducted an audit on recent calls. Below is a tiny cross section of the 1,700 calls received on average each month. Senior Help Line is a national confidential listening service for older people provided by trained older volunteers. A service of Third Age, the help line hears from many thousands of callers throughout Ireland each year.

  • Mother still grieving son’s suicide eighteen years ago

  • Female caller afraid of her husband, would leave if she could, ‘but where can I go at my age?’

  • Male callers whose childhood friend has died recently leaving him feeling very vulnerable

  • Father whose son is emigrating shortly, very sad and angry at national economic situation, ‘we are losing our good young people’

  • Mother minding grandchildren Monday-to-Friday one all day, two after school. Very tired, feels cannot approach son and daughter-in-law to tell them of this

Senior Help Line points to the fact that we have succeeded as a nation in adding years to the life but not necessarily life to the years. Many callers are lonely, isolated, feel fearful, insecure.  Callers also phone to discuss health and family worries, family conflict, financial problems, anxiety and depression.

Caller impact figures reveal that three out of every four callers say they find the call useful or helpful to them.

Senior Help Line is open every day of the year from 10am to 10pm including Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

The LoCall number is 1850 440 444. No landline call costs more than 30 cents. Calls are subsidised so that no older person is excluded for financial reasons.

Senior Help Line was established 16 years ago and now receives tens of thousands of callers from older people all over Ireland each year. All callers are older people. They may be single, widowed, married or separated. Very many live alone and a large number feel alone and unsupported.

A number of people phone very regularly and see Senior Help Line as an essential service for their well-being. Some callers say we are their life line.

Senior Help Line volunteers are trained to respond empathetically to each call, to give the caller time and space. Volunteers also help the caller to discuss their options, and this can often point to a new way forward.

About Senior Help Line

Senior Help Line is a confidential listening service for older people by trained older volunteers for the price of a local call anywhere in Ireland.  Senior Help Line is supported by the Health Service Executive and The Atlantic Philanthropies.  LoCall 1850 440 444

About Third Age

 Third Age is a national voluntary organisation celebrating the third age in life, committed to facing up to the challenges and the potential of individual ageing, and of ageing in Ireland. Third Age has over 1,400 older volunteers working in communities throughout the country, benefiting themselves and others. Through a variety of local and national programmes, Third Age demonstrates the value of older people remaining engaged and contributing in their own community for as long as possible.

Media contact:

Anne Dempsey

Head of Communications Third Age 


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