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Description
Friends of the Elderly was established in Dublin in 1980. It is part of the international federation of "Les petits freres des Pauvres", which was founded by Armand Maquiset. In the aftermath of World War II, Armand Marquiset became acutely aware of the plight of the elderly in France. Many had lost their families, their homes and their livelihood and had nowhere to turn. Marquiset began Little Brothers to care for these people. In 1980 Little Brothers came to Ireland as Friends of the Elderly. Today the work of Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly is to be found throughout France, in Spain, Germany, Mexico, Morocco, USA, Canada and Ireland. Armand Marquiset retired to Ireland in 1973. He died on the 14th of July 1981 and is buried on Cruit Island, Co. Donegal.

Aims and Objectives
Where service to the elderly begins by being a friend Little Brothers - Friends of the Elderly is a voluntary non-denominational organisation. Its main objective is to alleviate loneliness and isolation among Elderly people by providing friendship, social contact and opportunities for participating in community activities.

"Flowers before Bread" Friends of the Elderly serves people of 65 years and over who find themselves in their later years, lonely, disadvantaged and isolated. Our motto "Flowers before Bread" expresses the idea that basic human needs such as food and shelter are only part of what our elderly deserve. They also deserve and need friendship, care and understanding. Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly offers all of its services free of charge. Friends of the Elderly is run entirely as a voluntary organisation with one part-time paid official. Approximately 100 volunteers are involved in various areas of our action.

Services
Visitation Programme
Visiting lonely elderly people in their homes is the most important work carried out by Friends of the Elderly. A Volunteer is introduced to a lonely elderly person with a view to developing a close and sincere friendship. We ask all our visitation volunteers to commit to at very least one weekly visit with their elderly friend. The Volunteer also becomes the link between their old friend and the activities of Friends of the elderly, informing them of organised events in which they can take part like visits to the theatre, concerts, park walks, day excursions and small holidays. The volunteer can also encourage their old friend to take part in various parties and activities at our centre in Bolton St.

The Wednesday Club
Every Wednesday we hold our club meeting at our centre in Bolton Street. The club has approximately 140 members. Club days provide an opportunity for our Elderly friends to get together to listen to music, sing, dance, have a cup of tea or coffee and snack and generally enjoy each others company. We are fortunate to have a volunteer band (keyboard, drums and saxophone) who play every week for our members. It is at our centre in Bolton Street that we hold all our celebration parties. We at Friends of the Elderly will use any excuse to hold a party, Valentine's day, St. Patrick's Day, Easter, Midsummer, Halloween or even national days of other members of the International Federation of Little Brothers. We also hold our very popular Christmas dinners at our centre.

Holidays
We also organise Holidays and trips for our elderly friends. As well as many day trips to different parts of the country, two holidays take place to the West of Ireland. Once a year, we organise a vacation to Paris for our old friends. Theatre visits are a very popular evening out for both Elderly and Volunteers. Most of our work is funded by revenue earned in second hand clothes through our shop, 'Ritzy Rags' which sells quality second hand clothes (many of French origin) bric-a-brac and books. The elderly people we serve are brought to our attention in many ways, principally through referrals from social workers, occupational therapists, public health nurses, general practitioners and psychiatrists who work in the field of old age. A typical referral would outline the circumstances of a lonely and isolated elderly giving the reasons for the referral and explaining why the writer believes the old person would greatly benefit from our visitation scheme.

Contact
  Friends of the Elderly,
25 Bolton Street,
Dublin 1.
Tel: 01 - 873 1855
Fax 01 - 873 1617
Email: info@friendsoftheelderly.ie
Web: www.friendsoftheelderly.ie
 

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