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Comfort Words initiative launched to bond children and nursing home residents during Covid-19

Monday March 23, 2020

23rd March 2020: Nursing Homes Ireland has today launched Comfort Words, a national initiative encouraging children to reach out to older people in nursing homes during Covid-19. Comfort Words is encouraging children to support older people during this difficult time by writing to them. With almost 30,000 people across the country are in nursing home care. NHI believes children can fulfil an important role in promoting positivity amongst residents and maintaining contacts in the weeks ahead by connecting with them.

Tadhg Daly, NHI CEO, explained the concept behind Comfort Words. He said: “We are launching a national campaign encouraging children to engage in the most traditional form of communication with nursing home residents. We’re asking them to write to residents in our nursing homes to connect with these special people and bring a smile to their faces. We want children who know residents in their local nursing homes and also those who don’t know the people living in them to participate. It presents opportunity for children who know people in their nursing homes to tell them how much they mean to them and how important they are to them. And children who don’t know anyone in a nursing home can write a letter for all the residents, telling of their appreciation for older people and encouraging them to remain positive during Covid-19. We believe letters to individual and collective residents will bring great comfort and pleasure to people in our nursing homes. Comfort Words can demonstrate the power of inter-generational solidarity during these extraordinary times.”

A listing of nursing homes is available to download from the Nursing Homes Ireland website. Mr Daly urged children to be mindful of the importance of hygiene in preparing the letters, urging children and their parents to wash their hands prior to preparing. He also advanced the possibility presents for the letters to be emailed to nursing homes.

“Comfort Words does not have to be unique to older people in nursing homes and can also be replicated for older people living in the community,” he added. “We would also encourage people to utilise the free postcards being provided by An Post for connection with residents in nursing homes.”

He paid tribute to staff in nursing homes across the country who are making exceptional efforts to ensure residents are positively engaged and supported during Covid-19. In exceptionally difficult circumstances, he said nursing homes are delivering broad programmes of interest for residents and are being creative in ensuring they have regular access to relatives and friends via face-time technology

NHI is encouraging the sharing of Comfort Words letters and they can be emailed to [email protected] or shared on social media under #ComfortWords

Tadhg Daly is available for interview. Media requests will be facilitated by Michael McGlynn, NHI Communications & Research Executive who can be contacted at 087 9082970.  

Find a county-by-county listing of nursing homes across the country in PDF format here.

Find a county-by-county listing of nursing homes across the country in Excel format here