Tackling loneliness among our elderly population is the focus of an innovative RSS (Rural Social Scheme) Home Visitation Service project in North Kerry with the support of NEWKD (North, East & West Kerry Development).
hese social and community bodies work closely with projects designed for older people such as Home Maintenance Services, Meals on Wheels, and Senior Alert Scheme.
The need for home and social supports is evident in running these services, as older people were reported as suffering loneliness and a lack of social contact in their daily lives.
This project, which links isolated people with others socially in their community, has taken on greater importance since Covid-19 pandemic.
It is now hoped the service can be extended further and wider in rural parts of North Kerry.
A commitment from the HSE Community Work Department and the team of HSE Public Health Nurses (PHNs) is a vital part of the Home Visitation Service initiative as well as support from An Garda Siochana and local groups and services.
People over the age of 60, who would like to avail of this free social initiative in the areas of Moyvane, Listowel, Ballydonoghue, Duagh, Causeway, Ballyduff, Tarbert, Ballybunion, Asdee and Ballylongford, can now apply for the service by contacting their GP, Public Health Nurse, Listowel Garda Station or Daycare Centre.
It is a free, regular and continuous service aimed at those who live on their own in isolated areas, who have no transport or cannot leave their home due to medical reasons.
Volunteers and RSS participants form an essential part of Home Visitation Service by calling on service users once a week at an agreed time to chat and offer companionship and a listening ear.
Home Visitation volunteers are not required to do cleaning, cooking or attend to medical needs, they are there to support and link older people with services that exist in the community, by keeping an eye on them and making sure they know that someone cares.
Moreover, the Home Visitation Service for older people in North Kerry guide to local community services represents what was described as a quick and easy tool listing existing services, groups and centres.
Special thanks is also owed to the HSE Community Department and Caroline Doyle, who supported and worked on the project, the NEWKD said.
Kind, sociable and sympathetic volunteers in North Kerry, who feel they are suited to carry out the requirements of this project, can contact: NEWKD, 20 William Street Upper, Listowel, Co.Kerry 068/23429 For further details and information or visit http://nekd.net/home-visitation-service/