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18/12/2020 - Donegal Age Friendly Programme spread the Christmas cheer

The Government Plan for Living with COVID-19: Resilience and Recovery 2020-2021 highlights the important role that individual and community resilience will play in contributing to our ongoing response to COVID-19. The ‘KEEP WELL’ campaign builds on the ‘In this Together’ campaign that happened earlier this year and aims to support people and communities in being resilient through looking after their physical and mental health and wellbeing over the coming months. Donegal Age Friendly Programme have being very much part of this campaign with providing 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 was 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.


Emily Irwin  & Esmey Patterson  representing the TY year in Loreto School Milford  who packed the Christmas bags for the residents in Ramelton Community Hospital for the Donegal Age Friendly initiative .Included in the photo are Anna Doherty Ramelton Community Hospital, Barbara Crerand Ramelton Community Hospital and Mary Clyde, Donegal Age Friendly, Donegal County Council.


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.


Again 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 patient’s 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.


TY Students from Pobal Scoil Ghaoth Dobhar, Leah Nc a’ Bháird, Niamh Ní Mhearchair and Labhaoise Ní Fhríl, Gearaldine Coyle, of the Gaoth Dobhair Nursing Home and Charles Sweeney Donegal County Council 


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.

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