Much reference is made to the “forgotten Irish,” often depicted as older vulnerable emigrants who still live abroad. In our experience, those who return home after having spent a lifetime in exile can also feel forgotten, isolated, and an outsider in the communities that they return to, as they try to re-adjust to living back in Ireland once more.

Founded by Mayo’s Dr Jerry Cowley, Safe Home Ireland has more than 17 years of experience dealing with older people who have returned home permanently. Many have spent 40 years or more living abroad. Safe Home Ireland has found that initially when they return, people present with a feeling of great euphoria. However, all major life changes inevitably also bring stress and doubts about decisions made. Once the initial excitement of being home wears off, a low period tends to follow.  Visits from Safe Home outreach officers help to ease the transition back home. They advise on ways of coping with change and avenues to assist in re-integrating back into the communities that they have returned to. A major part of Safe Home’s outreach work is in identifying other suitable support services local to where the person has returned to, and where appropriate linking the returnee in with the agencies providing the service.

Safe Home Ireland is reaching out to the US diaspora for $10,000 to support its amazing work.