The Irish Senior Connect listening line is building a confidential Senior Network in the Boston area that links seniors with existing local services and activities, and provides a caring and supportive group of volunteer listeners. A program of the national Coalition of Irish Immigration Centers, the service is being hosted by the Irish Pastoral Centre in Dorchester. It offers a free telephone number to call that is geared toward Irish and Irish American seniors, and is available to all seniors. Callers can have a chat, share a concern, or request information on events in the Irish community and about local senior services.
Irish Senior Connect makes strides: Since the program started up in February, 14 volunteers have been trained in listening skills, Irish culture, and issues of ageing, including life transitions. The program was officially launched in mid-March and volunteers began receiving calls in early April. Callers have expressed concerns or requested information about transportation and home help, personal health and safety, financial matters, family issues and legal questions. Issues such as loneliness, depression and health problems that limit mobility have also been raised and responded to. Some callers are contacting the line on a regular basis, to say hello or share some news with a volunteer. Recurring calls are welcomed and encouraged.
Outreach efforts: Carried out by volunteers throughout the Boston and South Shore areas during the summer months and are continuing. These efforts include calls, mailings, and presentations which promote program services, awareness and provide information that strengthens the link between seniors and needed services.
Volunteer recruitment: As we move into the winter months, our outreach efforts will expand north and west of Boston. Seniors from these areas, along with those from Boston and the South Shore will be urged to begin or continue calling the listening line. We are seeking to recruit and train additional volunteers to help in these efforts. If you would like to volunteer, or if you would like more information about the program, please call Susan at 855-249-5146 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.