Over 5,000 older people across Donegal have been gifted with an ‘Age Friendly Pack’ to help them look after their physical and mental wellbeing this winter.
Today, Monday the 30th of November, the day before advent calendars are opened, sees the Donegal Age Friendly Programme launching Round 2 of their Age Friendly Pack “The Winter Ready Pack”.
Daffodil bulbs, bird seed, a tea bag, beanie hat and many mental health messages are contained within the packs which were delivered to 5,000 homes.
Donegal is one of many counties in Ireland that are part of the Age Friendly Ireland Programme. The Age Friendly Programme works to make Ireland one of the best places in the world in which to grow old.
As Covid 19 Pandemic continues to linger this puts a huge impact on our services and challenges us as individuals but especially the older age group, who are continually being advised to stay safe and in their home away from friends and family.
Cathaoirleach Cllr Rena Donaghey on behalf of Donegal County Council “acknowledges and commends the great work of the Older People during the Covid 19 Pandemic, they have showed great resilience through 2020 and It is important now to continue your great work and keep yourself healthy and well as we face into the winter”.
Earlier this year when the country faced into the first National lockdown, Donegal Age Friendly Programme delivered 7,500 packs to Older People’s houses all over Donegal. There was phenomenal feedback and photographs were received displaying how the older people planted the seeds they received in the pack.
Donegal Age Friendly Alliance is a multiagency group and have joined resources with many projects, the Alliance have again come together and collectively created a second round of the Age Friendly packs only this time it’s a Winter Ready Pack. This pack, like the first one is designed around the physical and mental wellbeing of Older People at home this winter.
Specially designed and created for older people, an advent calendar is included, which from the 1st of December up till Christmas day they will open a new door, each of these doors contain a positive mental health message or task to carry out that day along with a chocolate reward for doing so.
Nutrition is always very important, included in the pack, information and simple nutritious recipes to cook with a packet of Porridge and Soup provided.
Even though Older People are at home, the age friendly programme would encourage everyone to wrap up using the “Beanie hat” supplied, go outside into nature to plant the Daffodil bulbs and feed the birds with the bird seed that is also inside the pack.
For the days that people cannot get outside, the pack contains an Activity Booklet and pencil to keep the mind active and a simple exercise programme to keep the body moving.
To relax and unwind in the longer evenings, the pack contains a tea bag, this is to encourage people to sit back, have your cup of tea and read through the literature we have provided on security in your home, keep in contact card and information on the Doorstep delivery service from Donegal Library Services.
The packs have been delivered to 5000 Older Peoples houses in County Donegal.
Moving on from the contents of the pack, the most important message the Age Friendly Programme wants to get across to the Older People in Donegal, that they don’t have to face into this winter alone. There are many services available in Donegal to help you i.e. if you are lonely and want to talk there is the ALONE service, if you have concerns around the increase of drinking in the home you have the Alcohol Forum, if you need shopping or prescriptions lifted you have the community response team. All these services can be contacted through the Donegal County Council’s Covid 19 freephone Helpline 1800-928-982 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
John G McLaughlin, Chief Executive of Donegal County Council also delivered a message to all Older People “you don’t have to do it alone, pick up the phone and our staff will confidentially help you or get the appropriate service you require”.
Thank you to the Age Friendly Alliance members, Education Training Board, Inishowen Development Partnership, Donegal Local Development Company, Donegal Sports Partnership, Northwest Alcohol Forum, Connecting for life, Mental Health Ireland, Health Services Executive, Local Link Bus transport, Community Groups, Martin Coyle Local Link, An Garda Síochána and Donegal County Council services, Social Inclusion Unit, Rannog na Gaelige, Library Services, Youth & Old, Understanding, Remembering and Sharing “YOURS” Project, Public Participation Network, Healthy Ireland for their contribution and support with the Winter Age Friendly Packs.
A special thanks to all the people that helped pack and deliver the 5000 packs to Older People all over Donegal.