Use these buttons to quickly scroll to page sections
Third Age
About Third Age
National Programmes
Use these buttons to share this page

Third Age

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 that 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, through a variety of local and national programmes, demonstrates the value of older people remaining engaged and contributing in their own community for as long as possible.

Third Age recognises and celebrates the fact that older people are a diverse group with different needs, abilities, backgrounds and experiences. Third Age responds dynamically continually developing new responses as new needs emerge.

Programmes and services are designed so that members have a real say in their development, thus instilling a sense of ownership, responsibility and mutual support.

Given that older people are often marginalised, a policy and philosophy of social inclusion underpins all programmes. This extends to older people living in long-stay residential care, Travellers, non-Irish nationals and through the generations.

Third Age plays a role in the championing of older people locally, nationally and internationally in an interconnecting range of initiatives, including the challenge of negative perceptions and the representation of older people at policy-making fora.

The patron of Third Age is President Michael D. Higgins

Senior Help Line Advisory Board

Senior Helpline

Senior Help Line is a confidential listening service for older people by trained older volunteers for the price of a local call anywhere in Ireland, LoCall 1850 440 444.

Senior Help Line’s vision and mission is that every older person in Ireland would know the LoCall number, call if they need us and receive an empathic response.

The lines are open every day from 10am to 10pm.

Senior Help Line is supported by the Health Service Executive and The Atlantic Philanthropies.


Fáilte Isteach

Fáilte Isteach is a community project with older volunteers welcoming new migrants through conversational English classes. Failte Isteach utilises the skills, talents and expertise of older volunteers and harnesses their desire to contribute positively to society.

Fáilte Isteach works at breaking down the barriers that migrants and communities face by extending the hands of friendship and goodwill through the practical, welcoming and inclusive manner in which the programme is delivered. Failte Isteach provides more than the transfer of skills and knowledge. It is making a positive difference to everyone involved.

The Third Age National Advocacy Programme

National Advocacy Programme

Third Age National Advocacy Programme


Advocacy is an empowering process. Advocacy for older people is taking action to help them say what they want, secure their rights, represent their interests and obtain the services they need. Volunteer advocates make a long-term commitment to loyally support the older people they work with.  The volunteer advocate meets regularly with the resident, provides one to one support, develops a mutually trusting relationship with them, and listens to and represents their  views and wishes at all times.  is a web site providing information on nursing homes whiich aims to be of assistance to the public. This includes funding options, advice on choosing nursing homes and information on alternatives to nursing home care.

Personal Excellence Programme

This customised programme for nursing home staff and others in the caring professions aims to encourage health workers to reconnect to the heart of their practice, to allow compassionate caring to rise above institutional rules and limitations,  and to promote and encourage that quality and heart of care that serves the needs of patient and families.


The Third Age National Advocacy Programme, (TANAP) was originally  launched in 2008  by the HSE as an Advocacy Programme for Older People in Residential Care in response to recommendations made by the Forum on Services for Older People.  This Forum was set up following an Enquiry into revelations of abuse of older people in Leas Cross Nursing Home in North Dublin.   The Enquiry  revealed that morale in the nursing home was very low and that many residents felt voiceless.

In response the HSE set up a programme to train independent volunteer advocates to work in a number of nursing homes in Ireland. Volunteers were trained, and following a positive response from many private nursing homes, volunteer advocates began to work in a number throughout Ireland. All volunteer advocates have received induction and ongoing training, they are supported by an Advocacy Development Officer and have Garda clearance.

Currently just under 5% of older people over the age of 65 years live in one of the 550 residential homes which includes 430 private homes and 120 public nursing homes.


In 2010 the Programme was externally evaluated with the recommendation that its governance should be out-sourced to an independent agency.  The programme was handed over to Third Age  in September 2011, and the programme has adopted as its motto ‘An ear to listen, a voice to speak.

Within TANAP the volunteer advocate meets regularly with the resident and develops a mutually trusting relationship. The volunteer listens to and represents the resident’s views,  providing one to one support. and helping  the older person express their wishes, access their entitlements, and assert their rights The service is also accessible by the family of an older person, friends, carers or a relevant professional.

TANAP today represents a partnership between Third Age, the HSE and Nursing Homes Ireland.  At present 120 volunteers are working in 90 nursing homes in Ireland.  50 more volunteer advocates are currently being trained and a new training programme will begin in autumn 2012.

Third Age, Summerhill, Co Meath Tel: (046) 955 7766