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connect 2016 27 Anns hands wrap around a mug of tea as she thinks about how different her life was not so long ago. I had a big garden and a green- house. I had such a happy life with my husband my ve children and my grandchildren here in Ireland. However my children moved abroad with their families. Then about a year and a half ago my husband passed away. My husband and I used to talk so much. He had a fantastic sense of humor. How I miss the smile. We had such a life togetherand then suddenly it was so quiet. Ann is one of the older people that ALONE supports. ALONE works with those who have difculties with loneliness ill health poverty poor housing or homelessness and all of their services are designed to support people to age at home. ALONE is independent and receives no government funding for the day to day running of our services. They have 250 active volunteers that are trained and supported by professional staff. All of their services are quality approved ensuring they are high value and low cost. 100 of all donations goes directly to providing services to older people in need. Ann has benetted from their befriending service and social events program which is supported by The Ireland Funds. Ann was paired with Collette a volunteer who meets with her once a week for everything from conversation to ensuring that older people like Ann do not slip into social isolation. Collettecomesandwechatandwelaugh.Wealwaysenduplaughing.No matterwhatsgoingon.ItswonderfulsaysAnn.Itsthejoyofbeingableto talk to somebody. And I think she enjoys it just as much as I do. Other services offered are key to older people in crisis like John. Soon after Johns wife Marian was admitted to a nursing home he found out that his landlord was selling their apartment where they had resided for sev- en years. John was at great risk of becoming homeless but ALONE stepped in just in time to provide permanent housing for him in one of their properties. My place is really lovely says John. Its a small two bedroom place with a garden out in the back. I think there are only 11 ats in the block. Im just thankful for ALONE really. Ive found working with them has saved my life. There are new challenges and opportunities for ALONE. In Ireland older people are dealing a lot more with issues such as housing quality onset dementia and challenges around nances because they are living longer explains Sean Moynihan CEO of ALONE. Our job is to link people in to guide to support and to resolve. Sometimes its a long term relationship and sometimes its short but its about exibility. ALONE always keeps the older person at the center of all decisions. What do they want Whats best for them How do they want to live their lives ALONE receives no state funding. Their programs rely on private donations and hundreds of volunteers who bring thousands of hours of expertise time and compassion. I think sometimes people can think donating money or supporting a cause doesnt actually make a difference. I think the important thing to take away is it does. It changes lives says Sean. The Ireland Funds support demonstrates that people care. Its real money going to real services for real people. But what it means to the people who use our services is that the community actually does care.