Robert lives alone in the Donegal countryside. He is 84-years-old. For the last five years, he has received a telephone call every day from the Good Morning Service, a free confidential telephone link and advocacy service for older adults across Co. Donegal.
Good Morning Service Co-ordinator Frances Browne said,
“It was brought to our attention that Robert was living in poor conditions. We were able to help him in the home, repairing his stove, his only form of heating. We cleaned and repaired inside his home to make it more comfortable and liveable.”
In 2015, a National Lottery grant distributed by the Department of Health enabled the Good Morning Service to expand its scheme to provide a one-to-one befriending service in three primary care areas in Co. Donegal. This service provides a regular volunteer visitor to people in their own home, particularly to those who are lonely, frail or housebound, fostering meaningful friendships through social connectedness.
This couldn’t have been more needed by Robert, who became housebound last year after a fall in which he broke his hip. A befriender now visits Robert once or twice a week, lights his fire and carries out jobs in the home or sometimes just has a chat and a cup of tea.
Robert is very good humoured and really enjoys the visits, he says,
“I enjoy the craic with Sean, we chat about the farming and stuff like that, they are very good to me and if I need something done it’s no problem at all and it’s nice to have a bit a company.”
Sixty relationships have now established in Co. Donegal through the Good Morning Service’s Befriending programme, thanks to funding from the National Lottery.