“We help to combat loneliness,” says Kay Murphy.
As President of Active Retirement Ireland, Kay is well placed to sum up its mission so concisely – and it's a small but very telling insight into the way in which the organisation shapes life for Ireland's older people and, indeed, for the Irish community as whole.
Kay originally got involved with Active Retirement in her locality of Co Clare 19 years ago.
“Of course I didn’t come in as president straight away!" she explains, with a laugh. "But I did join at committee level and it went from there.”
“I love the organisation, I love what it does. Particularly for those who feel isolated. It’s a wonderful association that helps everyone, from people who relocate, to the sick, to those who have suffered from bereavement.”
Elderly isolation is a topic that is often discussed, but not so widely addressed. Thankfully, however, Kay explains that the organisation has an active way of approaching the subject.
“We introduce as many activities into the community as we can. Activities that are suitable to a mixture abilities and ages and that can cater to groups of elderly people," she explains, adding that communication is a key part of the work they undertake.
“We work through the health service, we post in the parish newsletter and we broadcast on local radio stations and really do anything we can to drive the message home that elderly people don’t have to be on their own.”
As we chat to Kay she is in the midst of practicing what she preaches, attending Active Retirement Ireland’s Annual National Bowls Championship in Killarney. A week-long event that includes a gala ball and and award ceremony at its end, Kay, in high spirits, speaks about its success.
“Months of organisation has gone into this; so much hard work. It has gone so smoothly and I’m just so happy with the outcome”. Proud again she adds, “With teams coming from all over the state, it’s just so great to see so many members here together.”