‘We all have a role in combatting loneliness, especially at Christmas’

‘We all have a role in combatting loneliness, especially at Christmas’

Paddy O’Brien, Over 60’s organiser: Never before have I come across so many lonely senior citizens. Picture: Jim Coughlan

CHRISTMAS has become a sad and lonely time for many older people.

That’s according to the organiser of Cork’s Over 60’s talent competition Paddy O’Brien, a well-known advocate for older people in Cork.

Mr O’Brien has been organising small Christmas concerts at nursing homes throughout the city in the run up to Christmas but said many people living alone feel extremely isolated.

“For most of the aged Christmas has regrettably gone from being the happiest time of the year to the saddest and loneliest,” he said.

“Many of these people who I speak to on a regular basis feel isolated and could go for as much as four days without speaking to anyone.”

“For many people I visit that is their topic of conversation. Loneliness and being isolated.”

“They tell me openly that they are sad and lonely every day and they do not like speaking about Christmas.”

Mr O’Brien said the isolation is felt by many throughout the year and not just at Christmas.

“We all have a role in trying to combat loneliness and to give elderly people a better quality of life.”

“The most appreciated gift you can give any elderly person for Christmas is to visit them at home or if they are residents in nursing homes.

“My own personal opinion is that never before, as long as I am working with the senior citizens, did I come across so many lonely people.”

“Sons and daughters have an important role to play here. Regrettably, what is happening today, far more than ever before, is some family members ignoring and disowning elderly parents. Never visiting them at home or visiting those who are in long-term care in Nursing Homes.

“I hear on a regular basis pathetic stories from aged parents and how their families never make any contact with them.”

Mr O’Brien said that with the population now living longer the medical services are totally inadequate.

“We need more Home Helps working with the aged. We need a ‘night care’ service from Home Helps. I know of people receiving twenty minutes a week Home Help.

The most appreciated gift you can give any elderly person for Christmas is to visit them at home or if they are residents in nursing homes.

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