Category: Archive

Seniors line goes live this week

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

The project, being aided by an Irish government grant of $15,000, is a collaboration between the New York Irish Center, the Aisling Irish Center and the Emerald Isle Immigration Center.
The helpline was formally announced at a reception at the Irish Consulate in Manhattan last year which featured a live video-fed message from Irish president Mary McCaleese.
Over the course of the past year, the consulate has been working closely with the three centers to develop improved outreach services for New York’s older Irish community.
Specifically, the Helpline project is intended to help the centers reach out to seniors across a wider area.
“The Senior Help Line aims to help our older people who have become isolated as their social networks splinter and sometimes disappear altogether. These are the very people who over the years would have sent substantial amounts in financial remittances back to Ireland and it is important that their contribution not be forgotten,” said Martin.
“One of the greatest challenges facing the Irish Community in the U.S. is the issue of ageing,” said Irish Consul General in New York, Niall Burgess.
“Many senior people are isolated and have no one to turn to when they are lonely or need advice. This project aims to build on the expertise available to address this emerging social issue, foster closer collaboration between Irish centers in the U.S. and centers of best practice in Ireland.
Burgess said it would also help older immigrants to address issues such as loneliness and isolation and to identify and begin addressing needs in the wider Irish community.
The New York project is modeled on a phone service for seniors launched in Ireland in 1998. There are now 13 senior call centers around Ireland.
The Help Line is staffed by senior volunteers who receive specialized training. This enables older people who may be distressed, isolated or lonely to call and speak to a sympathetic listener of their own age.
Over 20 volunteers in New York have already received training and another 30 are being trained this week at the Emerald Isle Immigration Center in the Bronx.
The toll free number (877)997-5777 connects to the Emerald Isle’s Bronx office and the New York Irish Center where the volunteers will operate the service.
The launch by Minister Martin will take place at 3 p.m. Thursday at the New York Irish Center in Long Island City, Queens.

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