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Third Age is a national voluntary organisation celebrating the third age in life when people may no longer be in paid employment, but can remain healthy, fulfilled and continue to contribute to society. The longer people are encouraged to remain in this life stage, the better for older people themselves, their families, communities and society as a whole.


Third Age has a deserved reputation for social innovation, and through a variety of national programmes demonstrates the value of older people remaining engaged and contributing in their own community for as long as possible. Third Age plays a role in the championing of older people in an interconnecting range of initiatives, including the challenge of negative perceptions, and the representation of older people at policy-making fora.



Senior Help Line, a Third Age programme, is a national confidential listening service for older people, provided by trained older volunteers. The service was established in 1998, modelled on an Italian befriending service for older people.  The line is open every day of the year from 10 am to 10pm. The mission of Senior Help Line is to ensure that every older person in Ireland knows of the service, and will receive a professional, quality and empathic response, should they call.


Loneliness, illness, poor mobility, health concerns, financial issues, family problems, living alone, security fears, retirement and bereavement are the main reasons for phoning Senior Help Line.  Approximately 2-3% of calls each year are attributed to elder abuse and neglect, with financial and psychological abuse being those most commonly presented.  Senior Help Line has been providing an empathic response to callers for over 18 years, and now receives over 20,000 calls annually from older people throughout Ireland.


Senior Help Line is ending 2016 with a healthy, well-managed service, supported by a group of enthusiastic and committed volunteers, a service that continues to bring comfort, company, and practical help to thousands of older people in Ireland, helping them to remain at home and contributing to their emotional sustenance and wellbeing. Given that the proportionate number of older people in the population will continue to rise, we see a need for an accessible, professional, compassionate Senior Help Line service for many years to come.

Where does each €1 raised by Senior Help Line go?

• €1 buys two minutes of empathic listening on Senior Help Line - €10 buys 20 minutes of positive listening.

• €0.90 of every euro raised goes directly to the service provided; €0.10 of every euro goes to support costs.


Sustainability of the national programme is of paramount importance in order to continue to provide the service for many callers who consider it a life line as well as a phone line


President Michael D Higgins is patron of Third Age

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