COVID-19: SeniorLine offering reassurance and support to older callers as concerns increase
Posted on 9th March 2020
SeniorLine, Ireland’s only dedicated daily service for older people has been particularly busy over the past 10 days offering reassurance and support to older callers as concerns increase in the spread of the Coronavirus.
Established 20 years ago, SeniorLine has 176 trained older volunteers and provides a Freefone service every day of the year 10am-10pm, including all public holidays.
The coronavirus is a particular threat to older people and subsequently, SeniorLine has put in place a number of protocols to support our many older callers from all over Ireland. Any caller, concerned about Covid-19, will receive the most up-to-date guidance as recommended by Government sources. Good health practice is reinforced at all times. This information is updated daily as the situation changes and is available to each of our volunteers at the phones.
SeniorLine is a FREEPHONE service and our older callers can call free between 10am and 10pm every day of the year on 1800804591
SeniorLine received 10,000 calls last year and for over two decades has been a trusted service for many of Ireland’s older and vulnerable population. Many people phone every day and describe the service as their lifeline.
SeniorLine is a programme of Third Age, whose CEO is Aine Brady: ‘To the calls we receive every day involving loneliness, poor health, family conflict, concerns have been added from older people about contracting the virus. Many don’t have access to computers, and can become worried about being told on radio announcement to go online for further information. Older people are accustomed to receive health messages one on one, and this is what we offer on SeniorLine. We know many of our callers. An important aspect of our service is that it is peer to peer, older people listening and supporting other older people. We receive core funding from the HSE in recognition of our role as a primary health care provider, part of a community service that is helping to keep older people living independent lives at home for longer,’ she said.
SeniorLine volunteers are trained to welcome each caller, to listen with empathy and understanding to problems, to explore the options that would best suit the caller and to refer to a wide range of other services – all tried and tested – as appropriate.
SeniorLine has also put in place a protocol to keep the service open should Ireland need to move from the virus containment phase. Damian Leneghan is Programme Manager of SeniorLine. ‘We have a plan in place so that SeniorLine will remain open. We are very conscious that if local services are curtailed, our callers will be in even more need of the help we can give. SeniorLine has been offering a caring listening ear to callers since 1998. We are known and trusted and we will not let our people down’, he said.
SeniorLine Freefone 1800 80 45 91 open 10 till 10 every day of the year
For more information, contact Anne Dempsey Communications Manager 087-7450721