Almost 800 residents of care / nursing homes in Donegal have received some Christmas cheer in the form of special packs from the Donegal Age Friendly Programme.
The unique programme has reached out to thousands of older people in Donegal this winter, including those in their own homes and in residential care.
Donegal Age Friendly Programme have been very much part of the government’s ‘Keep Well’ campaign during Covid-19 campaign, as they worked to provide continuous projects and support for the physical and mental health and wellbeing of Older People in Donegal.
During the COVID 19 pandemic, our nursing homes were one of the areas that was most affected by the virus. In order to protect the older residents in the homes, all visits from family members and friends had to stop. This has created a lot of sadness, confusion, loneliness and exclusion from society for the older people.
The Age Friendly Programme reached out to 5,000 Older People in the communities with a Winter Ready Pack for Christmas and not forgetting the older people in residential care / nursing homes, who also belong to our communities, a Christmas pack was created for them.
As an intergenerational project, Donegal County Council worked in partnership with Transition Year Students from five schools; Donegal Abbey Vocational School, Carndonagh Community School, Pobalscoil Ghaoth Dobhair, Finn Valley College and Loreto Community school Milford covering each of the Municipal Districts. Students wrapped the individual gifts along with writing a personalised card to every Older Person in long term residential care/Nursing Homes in Donegal. This covered all 23 nursing homes with just under 800 residents living in them.
The pack was specially designed for the needs of the older person, they contained a shower gel and deodorant for personal care, an activity booklet and colouring pencils to keep the mind active, a simple exercise programme to encourage them to keep moving, a personalised Christmas card and treat. These were delivered to the door of each Home. Mairead Cranley Donegal Age Friendly Programme spoke about how moved she was when she received a “Virtual Hug” from one of the patients in the Sheil Hospital, Ballyshannon. She also mentioned that staff in the Nursing homes were really appreciative and thankful to the Age Friendly Programme for reaching out to their residents.
For the Christmas period staff will be working hard to help families see their loved ones that are in care. Donegal Age Friendly Programme where delighted to bring a little joy to all the residents for Christmas and plan to engage with more Nursing Home projects for the New Year.
On behalf of the Age Friendly Programme, a huge thank you to all the staff in the 23 nursing homes, their care has being outstanding towards the residents and their families. Thank you to Healthy Ireland, Keeping Well Campaign, Age Friendly Alliance members, Donegal Sports Partnership, Donegal County Council services, Charles Sweeney, Mairead Lynch and Mairead Cranley from the Social Inclusion Unit, Sharleen Tinney, Youth & Old, Understanding, Remembering and Sharing “YOURS” Project and Mary Clyde and Annette McGrenra Public Participation Network for delivering around the County. A special thanks to all the Teachers and TY students in Donegal Abbey Vocational School, Carndonagh Community School, Pobalscoil Ghaoth Dobhair, Finn Valley College and Loreto Community school Milford for wrapping the packs and writing the Christmas cards.