Have a Laugh for Loneliness with ALONE this Christmas

PRESS RELEASE

Katherine Lynch is asking the public to reach out and have a laugh with older people
spending Christmas alone

 Dublin, 27th November 2018 ALONE, the charity that supports older people to age at home, today launched their Christmas campaign which asks individuals to reach out to older people who may be experiencing loneliness or isolation and to Have a Laugh for Loneliness. Comedienne Katherine Lynch launched the charity’s Christmas initiative today and urged members of the public to donate to ALONE and to offer friendship and support to those who are lonely or living alone.

The campaign encourages families, friends, and communities to get together this winter to hold a bake sale, a coffee morning or another social event to raise funds for ALONE and combat loneliness in their community. The charity are also asking that the public make their Christmas donation to ALONE to help support the over 100,000 older people who are lonely in Ireland.

Katherine Lynch commented at the launch in the Powerscourt Townhouse Centre, “I’m so excited to help ALONE launch their Christmas campaign this year. I’ve long been an admirer of their work and delighted to be a part of such a positive message. Loneliness and isolation can be serious problems for older people and dropping in for a cup of tea or helping a neighbour with their shopping could make all the difference to their week.”

She continued, “What we all need, no matter our age, is a good laugh. And there’s really no better reason than Christmas to drop in to your older neighbour or relatives and catch up! We’re all busier than ever and it’s important to take the time to check on the people around us, whether someone needs some help or just your company.”

ALONE provides direct, frontline services to people aged 60 years and over, through befriending, support coordination, housing and BConnect assistive technology. With the effects of loneliness on older people including increased risk of dementia, depression and cognitive decline, ALONE wants every older person to know that support is available to them.

Seán Moynihan, CEO of ALONE, commented, “Over the winter period, calls for support dramatically increase and loneliness is one of the most common issues facing older people. Many older people think that by asking for help and support they are bothering people. ALONE want them to know that they deserve the help they require and should not be afraid to ask for it.”

Moynihan continued, “We are asking members of the public to support ALONE by making a donation to support our services, donating their time to older people experiencing loneliness, or referring an older person who might use our services. These small acts of kindness can have an immensely positive impact on an older person’s well-being and can offer a real sense of security and comfort.”

Supporting the launch, Dr. Diarmuid O’Shea, President of The Irish Gerontological Society, said that “Loneliness is every bit as harmful to your health as smoking, drinking, lack of exercise, high blood pressure and obesity. We all have it in our power to help out with people who are lonely. We can beat loneliness one conversation at a time. Everyone needs a friend, so be that friend and befriend a neighbour this Christmas.”

ALONE’s activities over Christmas will include Christmas dinner dances for older people and volunteers, the delivery of hampers and Christmas trees to older people in need and a special Christmas Day dinner delivery for a number of older people.

For those who have concerns about their own wellbeing, or the wellbeing of an older person in their community, ALONE can be contacted on (01) 679 1032. To make a donation and help aid ALONE’s work this Christmastime visit www.alone.ie

ENDS

About ALONE

Established in 1977, ALONE supports older people to age at home. ALONE works with those who have issues with loneliness and social isolation, lack of services, poor health, poverty, homelessness or housing.  ALONE provides Support Coordination, Housing with Support, Befriending and Campaigning services to over 1,000 older people nationwide every week. ALONE’s services are quality approved and are delivered 365 days a year.

 

For more information contact:

Lauren Freir, Limelight Communications, lauren.freir@limelight.ie, 01 668 0600, 087 238 0853

Kathryn Byrne, Limelight Communications, kathryn.byrne@limelight.ie, 01 668 0600, 085 233 6033

 

One in Three Older people in Ireland Live Alone: SuperValu Encourages More Time for Chat as it Supports ALONE in Tackling Loneliness in Communities this Christmas

15/11/18 ***NO REPRO FEE*** SuperValu Encourages More Time for Chat as it Supports ALONE in Tackling Loneliness in Communities this Christmas
Pictured are Joan Kelly, Peter Brown and Pat Hussey, ALONE beneficiaries alongside Kevin Dundon and former RTE newsreader Anne Doyle as SuperValu call on the nation to Consider Taking Time to Catch up with someone in their community who maybe lonely this festive season.Pic: Marc O’Sullivan

Thursday, November 15th, 2018: Christmas can be a very lonely time for many, so SuperValu is set to help address this by supporting ALONE and raise funds to support people who are suffering from loneliness this Christmas. With statistics indicating that there will be over 300,000 people over the age of 65 living alone in Ireland by 2021, there has never been a greater need for action.  SuperValu through a range of fundraising initiatives will amplify the issue of loneliness this Christmas and highlight the importance to reach out to both young and old in the community.

With SuperValu at the heart of 217 communities, this year they are asking their shoppers to Consider Taking Time to Catch up with someone in their community who may be lonely this festive season and drop around to have a chat and cuppa along with a mince pie. A 0.20c donation from all packs of Signature Taste mince pies will go to ALONE. Retailers around the country will also be hosting local coffee and mince pie mornings and wine and cheese evenings on Friday 23rd and Saturday 24th of November to raise further funds and awareness for the charity.

SuperValu will also open its special All Things Considered Christmas Café on 41 South William St for two days from the 23rd – 24th November from 10am to 8pm. Bring a friend along and enjoy some festive treats, choosing from a menu of Christmas favourites from the Specially Sourced wine range, SuperValu Christmas cakes and sandwiches and Signatures Tastes meats and cheese platters with proceeds from the menu going to ALONE.

Speaking about the Christmas Campaign, ALONE CEO Sean Moynihan said. ‘At ALONE, our mission is to support older people to age at home. We provide friendship, support, and housing to ensure that older people can live independently at home without suffering from loneliness.  Most people aren’t aware of the severe impact loneliness can have on a both physical and mental health. We are delighted to be working with SuperValu on this campaign which highlights the real need for people to consider older people in their community, particularly around Christmas time. Their support with this campaign and across their retailer network helps us to continue the great and vital work that our organisation does.’

Des O’Mahony, SuperValu Marketing Director said, ‘With the statistics on loneliness particularly stark in Ireland there has never been a greater need for action.  SuperValu stores are at the heart of every community across Ireland and we play a pivotal role in providing not just a shop but a place to go to every day to see a friendly face for many elderly people. Coupled with our online delivery service, our retailers are supporting the elderly in every which way we can in communities.  This Christmas, we want to do more and our partnership with ALONE means that we can use our unique position to inspire people to consider time to catch up with someone that they may not have seen for some time and help us raise funds for ALONE to combat loneliness for many elderly people at this time of year.’

 

Share your Christmas catch up on Facebook.com/SuperValuIreland, on Twitter @SuperValuIRL and on Instagram @supervalu_Irl.

Ends

Irish statistics on loneliness:

  • Older people experiencing high levels of loneliness are almost twice as likely to die within six years compared to those who are not lonely. [1]
    • People who reported feeling lonely have 64% greater risk of developing dementia in old age than those who did not feel lonely. [1]
    • Loneliness can be worse for us than well known risk factors such as obesity.[2]
    • Lonely people suffer disproportionately with mental health issues,[3] cognitive decline, hypertension, and are more likely to be admitted for residential or nursing care. [4]
    • Loneliness affects recovery from stroke and the frequency of emergency hospitalisations as well as causing depression and stress. [5]
  • For further information contact ALONE on 01 6791032

    [1] Feelings of loneliness, but not social isolation, predict dementia onset: Results from the Amsterdam Study of the Elderly (AMSTEL). Loneliness and risk of Alzheimer disease. Wilson RS, Krueger KR, Arnold SE, Schneider JA, Kelly JF, Barnes LL, et al. Arch Gen Psychiatry (2007); 64, pp.234-240

    [2] Christina R. Victora & Ann Bowling, A Longitudinal  Analysis of Loneliness Among Older People in Great  Britain, The Journal of Psychology: Interdisciplinary  and Applied Volume 146, Issue 3, 2012.

    [3] Cacioppo JT, Hughes ME, Waite LJ, Hawkley LC, Thisted RA. Loneliness as a specific risk factor for depressive symptoms: cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses. Psychol Aging 2006;21,pp140-51.

    [4] Russell DW, Cutrona CE, de la Mora A, Wallace RB. Loneliness and nursing home admission among rural older adults. Psychol Aging 1997(4) pp.574-89.

    [5] CARDI: Loneliness and physical health, (2012), http://www.cardi.ie/userfiles/May%20Loneliness.pdf

[1] Ye Lou, Hawkley LC, Waite LJ et al. Loneliness, health and mortality in old age: A national longitudinal study. Soc Sci Med 2012; 74,pp. 907-914

The ALONE Art Shop

ALONE have recently opened a pop up shop in Stephens Green Shopping Centre.

The shop contains over 400 paintings by the artist Tony Gunning. Tony donated these paintings with all proceeds going towards ALONE’s services.

The shop space was also donated by Lisney and Stephens Green Shopping Centre.

A huge discount has been applied to all the paintings, with prices starting from €20.

Where are we located:

The shop is on the top floor of Stephens Green Shopping Centre, nearest the main entrance. See photo below: Unit 214.

 Stephens green Dublin.

Interested in volunteering at our shop? :

If you are available to volunteer regularly in our shop or want to do a couple of days in November/December, please email fundraising@alone.ie.

Volunteers are welcome any day Monday to Sunday.

All volunteers must speak good English.

ALONE Charity shop

 

Check out below some of our many paintings in store.

 

art gallery

Art Shop

Display paintings.

Irish paintings

Charity ALONE

City Paintings.

Church Painting

Canvas

Irish Artist

Brendan O’Carroll asks public to ‘Have a Laugh for Loneliness’ in aid of ALONE

PRESS RELEASE

 Charity initiative hopes to support befriending and outreach across Ireland

Dublin, 29th October 2018  Comedian and actor, Brendan O’Carroll, and his wife and co-star, Jenny Gibney, are calling on the public to ‘Have a Laugh for Loneliness’ in aid of ALONE, the charity that supports older people to age at home. The campaign encourages people to host social events for family, friends and neighbours, to raise funds to support ALONE’s services.

A major element of ALONE’s support is the charity’s befriending service. This pairs older people, who may be experiencing loneliness or isolation, with trained volunteers who can offer help with practical tasks and most importantly, offer friendship.

As part of the ‘Have a Laugh for Loneliness’ initiative, ALONE is encouraging members of the public to host social events and to have a laugh to raise funds for these crucial services while combating loneliness in their own community. This week, the charity published its 2017 Annual Report which cited a 100% increase in the number of older people using ALONE’s services since 2016. In comparison, ALONE’s donations increased by just 15% during this time.

Speaking at the launch, Brendan O’Carroll, said, “It’s fantastic to be a part of ALONE’s ‘Have a Laugh for Loneliness’ campaign. It’s awful to think that as many as 1 in 10 older people experience chronic loneliness. ALONE’s work to combat this is extremely valuable and the difference it makes in the lives of older people is powerful. We’re hoping that by having a laugh for loneliness, the public will not only raise funds for ALONE but help to combat loneliness in their community.”

Seán Moynihan, CEO OF ALONE, said, “The fact is that loneliness can shorten your life. Thousands of older people across the country struggle with loneliness every day. ALONE is delighted to have Brendan and Jenny on board to launch this campaign, which we hope will help us to support more of those people. Receiving a regular call or visit from ALONE offering friendship and support is a simple thing which can make a huge difference to older people. “

He continued, “Our volunteers are invaluable to ALONE’s Befriending work and we’re constantly looking to recruit and train more people in order to keep up with the calls we receive. Through the ‘Have a Laugh with Loneliness’ campaign, we hope to raise vital funds for the service which saw our 1,000th volunteer trained this year. With the support of the public, we are working so that no older person is left lonely, without friendship and support.”

For more information on ‘Have a Laugh for Loneliness’ please visit www.alone.ie.

 

ENDS

 

NOTES TO EDITOR 

 

ALONE 2017 Annual Report Statistics

  • Doubled the number of people using ALONE services since 2016.
  • ALONE’s staff supported 1,900 older people with issues such as housing, finance and loneliness
  • 9 new tenants and 6 people from emergency cases and homelessness received accommodation in ALONE housing
  • €120,000 was invested to support the growth of other befriending organisations and provide them with training and technology
  • 1,300 hours of volunteer maintenance was donated through 15 corporate volunteer days

ALONE doubles number of older people supported and volunteers, as donations rise just 15%

ALONE’s 2017 Annual Report can be viewed here: Annual_Report_2017

 

Dublin, 23rd October 2017 ALONE, the charity that supports older people to age at home, launched its Annual Report today which showed a 100% increase in both the number of older people availing of ALONE services and the number of volunteers since 2016.

In comparison, only a 15% increase in donations has been reported during the same period.

The number of people supported by ALONE’s services to cope with loneliness, poverty, housing difficulties and other issues doubled in 2017 to 1,903. The charity offers help to older people through Support work, Befriending, Housing and BConnect assistive technology.

Seán Moynihan, CEO of ALONE, said, “ALONE achieved a great deal during 2017 and we’re proud to have supported twice as many older people. However, the demand for our services is a cause for concern and we expect the number of people we support to double yet again in 2018.”

“As a country, we are facing an ageing demographic and ALONE and other agencies are providing essential supports. Many more older people will be experiencing issues such as loneliness or homelessness in the coming years. We need support from the public to increase so that we can continue to meet the demand,” he said.

The sizable growth in the demand for ALONE’s services echoes Ireland’s rapidly changing demographic and the difficulties that continue to be faced by older people across the country. With over 1.2 million people to be aged over 60 in Ireland by 2032, the need for services to support older people will only grow, highlighting the urgency to develop government supports.

Other key findings in the 2017 ALONE Annual Report include:

  • More than 750 volunteers dedicated their time to ALONE by befriending older people, working in administration, helping with events and in other areas of ALONE’s work
  • Nearly 700 people were supported by the ALONE Befriending Service
  • ALONE’s staff supported 1,146 older people with issues such as housing, finance and loneliness
  • 9 new tenants and 6 people from emergency cases and homelessness received accommodation in ALONE housing
  • €120,000 was invested to support the growth of other befriending organisations and provide them with training and technology
  • 1,300 hours of volunteer maintenance was donated through 15 corporate volunteer days

He continued, “This year we were the national winner of the HSE Excellence in Healthcare Award. This was thanks to our volunteers, staff, agencies, the HSE and local communities all working together to improve the quality of life for older people. Our vision is for every older person to have the opportunity to age happily and securely at home. As we continue to grow ALONE supports nationwide, including innovations such as BConnect, we look forward to collaborating with other charities and the government to ensure that the needs of older people are met.”

For those who have concerns about their own wellbeing, or the wellbeing of a vulnerable older person in the community, ALONE can be contacted on (01) 679 1032 or at www.alone.ie.

 

ENDS

 

 

About ALONE

Established in 1977, ALONE supports older people to age at home. ALONE works with those who have issues with loneliness and social isolation, lack of services, poor health, poverty, homelessness or housing.  ALONE provides Support Coordination, Housing with Support, Befriending and Campaigning services to over 1,000 older people nationwide every week. ALONE’s services are quality approved and are delivered 365 days a year.

 

For more information contact:

Lauren Freir, Limelight Communications, lauren.freir@limelight.ie, 01 668 0600, 087 238 0853

Kathryn Byrne, Limelight Communications, kathryn.byrne@limelight.ie, 01 668 0600, 085 233 6033

 

 

ALONE encourage public to check in on older neighbours as orange weather warning issued

PRESS RELEASE

 Dublin, 11th October 2018  ALONE, the charity which supports older people, is urging older people to take extra care following the status orange weather warnings by Met Éireann as Storm Callum is expected to hit Ireland later today. Strong winds of 130km/h and coastal flooding are expected in parts of the country.

Older people can be more vulnerable during poor weather and stormy conditions due to the increased risk of falls and injury. More than one in five older people live alone, while one in ten older people are frail. Older people most at risk are those living alone, those with health issues, and those with limited mobility.

ALONE is calling on family, friends and neighbours to check on older people in their community and assist them if they need to travel to the local shop or post office during the bad weather. ALONE is also asking older people who are concerned about their own wellbeing during the strong winds to call for assistance and help if needed.

Seán Moynihan, CEO of ALONE commented, “Following a status orange weather warnings from Met Éireann, we are calling on members of the public in the affected areas to remember their older relatives and neighbours living alone and to consider their needs. We’re advising older people to stay indoors where possible once the storm arrives.”

Further information, including advice and tips for older people in extreme weather conditions, can be found on www.alone.ie.

Those who have concerns for an older person, or older people in need of assistance can contact ALONE on (01) 679 1032. The charity, which depends on donations from the public, has volunteers and staff ready to act on requests for assistance, and works in partnership to ensure all calls for assistance are responded to. ALONE can assist and advise on issues relation to food, heat, or medication. Older people are also advised to have a list of important phone numbers close to their home phone.

 

ENDS

 

About ALONE

Established in 1977, ALONE supports older people to age at home. ALONE works with those who have issues with loneliness and social isolation, lack of services, poor health, poverty, homelessness or housing.  ALONE provides Support Coordination, Housing with Support, Befriending and Campaigning services to over 1,000 older people nationwide every week. ALONE’s services are quality approved and are delivered 365 days a year.

 

For more information contact:

Lauren Freir, Limelight Communications, lauren.freir@limelight.ie, 01 668 0600, 087 238 0853

Kathryn Byrne, Limelight Communications, kathryn.byrne@limelight.ie, 01 668 0600, 085 233 6033

 

 

This World Mental Health Day, ALONE encourages older people to reach out

PRESS RELEASE

 

Dublin, 10th October 2018  This World Mental Health Day on 10th October, ALONE, the charity that supports older people to age at home, is urging older people to reach out and talk if they are in need of support surrounding loneliness and mental health.

The charity is highlighting the importance of maintaining mental health into older age and encouraging those who struggle with mental health to help to break the stigma which still surrounds it, urging them to ‘Make today the day you reach out’.

One in 10 older people suffer from chronic loneliness, and 1 in 20 older people have suffered a depressive episode.

Seán Moynihan, CEO of ALONE said, “It is vitally important that mental health is seen as an important factor in maintaining the health of older people. This World Mental Health Day we are encouraging older people to lift the phone or speak to someone if they are struggling with loneliness or other mental health issues. Although we have made a lot of progress in fighting the stigma against mental health and loneliness, we have found that many older people are still apprehensive about admitting they may be feeling lonely or have a mental health problem.”

He continued, “Loneliness is an essential predictor of depression in older people. Evidence highlights that older people experiencing high levels of loneliness are almost twice as likely to die within six years compared to those who are not lonely. Loneliness can cause depression, stress and other illnesses. A regular phone call or visit from ALONE offering friendship and support can have a substantial lifting effect. 20% of people who come to ALONE are self-referred and we hope that people will continue to pick up the phone and make the call.”

Moynihan, who spoke yesterday at the Campaign to End Loneliness Conference in the UK about loneliness in Ireland, also welcomed the additional funding to mental health in yesterday’s Budget. “We welcomed the additional funding to mental health funding in yesterday’s budget. However, we hope that some of this funding will be ringfenced for combating loneliness. As our population ages, it is vital to put structures in place which will enable people to age happily and securely.”

Don Smith, who was befriended by ALONE, described how being befriended by ALONE helped him to overcome loneliness: “Loneliness is what happens when you stop living your life to the full and become an observer. It can be brought on by retirement, sickness, bereavement or accident. The good news is that it can be overcome! A single phone call to a friendly voice can change your life,” he said.

ALONE recently supported LGBT Ireland with its launch of the National Helpline Poster Campaign for older people, with Eilish O’Carroll, actress who plays Winnie McGoogan from Mrs Brown’s Boys, launching the campaign. The poster campaign aims to raise awareness of their helpline and support services available to older LGBT people and also aims to raise visibility of older LGBT people with mainstream services.

This World Mental Health Day, ALONE encourage any older person looking for a Befriending Service in their area to get in touch and call 01 679 1032. Similarly, if there are any befriending organisations looking for advice and support they can contact ALONE.

For those who have concerns about their own wellbeing, or the wellbeing of an older person in the community, ALONE can be contacted on (01) 679 1032. For more information about ALONE visit www.alone.ie

 

ENDS

 

About ALONE

Established in 1977, ALONE supports older people to age at home. ALONE works with those who have issues with loneliness and social isolation, lack of services, poor health, poverty, homelessness or housing.  ALONE provides Support Coordination, Housing with Support, Befriending and Campaigning services to over 1,000 older people nationwide every week. ALONE’s services are quality approved and are delivered 365 days a year.

 

For more information contact:

Lauren Freir, Limelight Communications, lauren.freir@limelight.ie, 01 668 0600, 087 238 0853

Kathryn Byrne, Limelight Communications, kathryn.byrne@limelight.ie, 01 668 0600, 085 233 6033

ALONE call for focused Government support of older people as Budget 2019 is released

PRESS RELEASE

Charity for older people responds to Budget 2019

Dublin, 9th October 2018 ALONE, the charity that supports older people to age at home, has welcomed the increase to the state pension announced this afternoon as part of Budget 2019, but has stated that further government action is needed to support Ireland’s older people.

Following today’s Budget 2019 announcement, Seán Moynihan, CEO of ALONE, commented, “Today’s Budget shows some promise for older people. However, it does not go far enough, particularly concerning housing and homecare issues.”

Moynihan continued, “While we welcome the €5 increase to the pension, this is below the National Pensions Framework target of 35% of average earnings, which would require a €13 increase to the state pension. For pensioners living alone in rural areas, the income from a contributory pension will only meet the cost of 85% of their expenses. We had hoped that this year’s budget would reach the halfway point of an increase of €6.50 and are disappointed to note the increase is delayed until March 2019.”

In terms of social benefits announced for older people, Moynihan commented, “The restoration of the Christmas bonus will be a welcome relief for many older people in the run-up to the holidays. The extension of the fuel allowance to 28 weeks is also encouraging, but as one in ten older people are unable to keep their home adequately warm, we believe that this should have been restored to 32 weeks. Similarly, the Living Alone allowance directly impacts the living conditions of older people across the country and we had hoped that an increase to €14 per week might be introduced.“

In response to 50c reduction in prescription charges for over-70’s and updated health care costs, Seán Moynihan commented, “The reduction is a move in the right direction as the prescription charge has had serious health implications for older people over the last number of years. Likewise, the reduced threshold for the Drug Payment Scheme by €10 and the increase of income thresholds by €25 for GP visit cards will hopefully lighten the financial burden when an older person’s health requires attention.”

Despite much discussion over the past number of days, the ‘granny-flat grant’ was not included in Budget 2019. The rejection of this project has been supported by ALONE, who expressed concern over the practicalities of the scheme.

Considering measures to combat the housing crisis, Seán Moynihan said, “The focus should be on providing housing with supports for older people and further funding to the Housing Aid for Older People Scheme, in order to prevent a larger crisis to come. The increase in funding for Housing Adaptation Grants to €57million, from €53 million, will enable up to 11,800 adaptations to better facilitate older people to age in their own homes.”

Moynihan said, “ALONE has conducted a robust assessment into housing solutions for older people and strongly recommend the development of housing choices inspired by the life-cycle. Our suggestions are fully outlined in our housing report ‘Housing Options for Older People in Ireland – Time for Action’, which we hope will influence the housing investment announced by the Minister for Finance today.”

While an increased homecarers credit of €300 to €1,500 per year was welcomed, ALONE are disappointed that no increase to homecare was included in Budget 2019. This follows a pre-budget submission by the charity calling for an increase of €102 million in Home Support Hours.

The charity also welcomed the government’s investment of €84 million to mental health funding. Having established the Loneliness Taskforce in collaboration with Senator Keith Swanick earlier this year, the charity is working to highlight the impact loneliness can have towards the health and well-bring of older people throughout Ireland. The Loneliness Taskforce is calling for €3 million of this new funding to be assigned to loneliness and social isolation.

ENDS

About ALONE
Established in 1977, ALONE supports older people to age at home. ALONE works with those who have issues with loneliness and social isolation, lack of services, poor health, poverty, homelessness or housing. ALONE provides Support Coordination, Housing with Support, Befriending and Campaigning services to over 1,000 older people nationwide every week. ALONE’s services are quality approved and are delivered 365 days a year.

For more information contact:
Lauren Freir, Limelight Communications, lauren.freir@limelight.ie, 01 668 0600, 087 238 0853
Kathryn Byrne, Limelight Communications, kathryn.byrne@limelight.ie, 01 668 0600, 085 233 6033

Leading NGOs Call for additional € 100 million Investment in Home Care in Budget 2019

1st October 2018
A group of Irelands’ leading not for profit organisations and campaigners came together today to highlight the urgent need for investment in home care services pending the introduction of a statutory home care scheme.

While the Department of Health’s plan to establish a statutory homecare scheme by 2021 is welcomed by all groups, people who require home care and their families cannot wait until then to see services improve. Pending the introduction of the statutory scheme, interim measures are urgently needed to address the home care crisis which is seeing thousands of people stuck in hospitals or forced into residential care when they could return or stay at home if appropriate care was provided.

The majority of people coping with the effects of ill health and disability want to remain living in their homes. This includes a large number of older people and people with long-term progressive illnesses, or terminal illnesses. As a society we are failing to provide these people and their carers’ with the level of support they need.

“Home care is often seen and used as a solution to the hospital crisis, but it should be seen as an integral part of long-term care in its own right,” stated a spokesperson for the group. “The difference that appropriate home care can make to a person and their family cannot be underestimated — it can support people to live well in the community, to stay out of hospital and long-term residential care, and to remain in their own homes with their families throughout their lives. We are calling on the Government to urgently increase investment in home care in Budget 2019 in line with Government policy to provide the majority of care close to or at home.”

Our ageing population as well as those with disabilities require a significant annual increase in home care support. The cuts to home care provision over the years have not been restored to the levels required to keep pace with the significant ageing population and the increase in the number of people with disabilities. Home Support Hours should be increased by at least 25 percent in budget 2019.

Home care is also vital in supporting Ireland’s 355,000 family carers, who provide the vast majority of care for people at home. The system relies heavily on these family carers who provide nearly €10bn worth of care every year and who need our support.

Research published by the School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice in UCD, Age Action, The Alzheimer Society of Ireland and the Irish Association of Social Workers in 2016 found that more than half of older people could remain in their own homes instead of going into long-term care if more home support services were available.

The report also showed that a multiple of resources are being invested in long-term care than in community-based care, despite the fact that Government policy is to support people to remain at home. Recent research by Dr Maeve D’Alton of James Connolly Hospital found that almost half of home care recipients felt they were getting insufficient home care support.

Spending on Nursing Home care in 2018 will be almost 2.5 times more than spending on home care – € 962 million spent on Fair Deal as opposed to € 412 million on homecare.

This group is calling on the Government to urgently increase investment in home care in Budget 2019 in line with Government policy to provide the majority of care close to or at home.

This call is supported by the following organisations:

Active Retirement Ireland
Acquired Brain Injury
Age Action
Age and Opportunity
ALONE
Care Alliance Ireland
Cheshire Ireland
Cystic Fibrosis Ireland
Disability Federation of Ireland
Family Carers Ireland
Irish Association of Social Workers
Irish Heart Foundation
Irish Hospice Foundation
Irish Motor Neuron Disease Association
Migrant Rights Centre Ireland
MS Ireland
National Women’s Council of Ireland
Neurological Alliance of Ireland
Sage Advocacy
The Alliance of Age Sector NGOs
The Alzheimer Society of Ireland
Third Age

 

homecare, right, budget
NO REPRO FEE 1/10/2018 Leading NGOs today called for an additional € 100 million Investment in Home Care in Budget 2019. A group of Irelands’ leading not for profit organisations and campaigners came together today to highlight the urgent need for investment in home care services pending the introduction of a statutory home care scheme. PHOTO: Mark Stedman

For media queries please contact Catherine Cox, Family Carers Ireland Tel: 086 8521611 or Sean Moynihan, ALONE Tel: 086 3852388

 

1.https://researchrepository.ucd.ie/bitstream/10197/7670/1/IASW.AGE_ACTION.ASI.UCD_Research_Report_on_Care_of_Older_People_2016.pdf
2. The Patient Experience of Home Care Services. Maeve D’Alton, Keneilwe Malomo, Avril Beirne, Fionn Mag Uidhir, Eimear Short, Marie O’ Connor, Eamon Dolan. James Connlly Memorial University Hospital, Blanchardstown, Dublin 15, Ireland.

ALONE pre-budget submission calls for investment across housing, health and social protection departments

Press Release

Dublin, 28th September 2018  ALONE, the organisation that supports older people to age at home, has today outlined its pre-budget submission, which calls for action across the Department of Employment and Social Protection, Department of Health and Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government.

With home ownership dropping and more than one third of over-50s suffering from loneliness, ALONE believe it is vital that the Government takes measures to address the issues faced by an ageing population.

Among its submissions, the charity has identified four major issues affecting older adults, which demand government response:

  • Finance, pensions and benefits
  • Supply of appropriate housing
  • Cost of healthcare
  • Loneliness and social isolation

Seán Moynihan, CEO of ALONE, said, “This year we will support 4,000 older people to age at home. Our submissions have arisen from what we have heard directly from the older people we work with. Budget 2019 is an opportunity to make meaningful steps in improving the lives of older people. ALONE’s work clearly demonstrates that effective, forward thinking government policies are required to prepare Ireland for our ageing population.”

 

Finance, Pension and Benefits

Finance is the third most common issue faced by older people who come to ALONE, following loneliness and housing.

ALONE is calling on the government to raise pension rates by €6.50 in Budget 2019, as part of a plan to bridge the gap between the current pension rate and the Contributory State Pension payment target of 35% of average earnings.

ALONE is also calling for:

  • Restoration of the Christmas Bonus to 100%
  • Increase in the Living Alone allowance to €14 a week
  • Restoration of the Fuel Allowance to 32 weeks and to maintain the current value

 

Housing Adaptation Grants

With the substantial shortage of residential accommodation, Ireland’s housing crisis is set to continue. The population of over 60s is expected to grow from 866,317 in 2016 to over 1.3 million in 2031.

Already, 20.7% (234,848) of older people have housing facility problems, which could include lack of an indoor flushing toilet, lack of a bath or shower, lack of downstairs bathroom facilities, and other issues. However, home adaptation grants are difficult to access for many older people as they require the person to have money up front to pay for building deposits. They also involve a lengthy application process, and the grants are not resourced to meet demand.

ALONE is calling for:

  • €84.5m per year over the next 10 years in grant funding through the Housing Aid for Older People scheme, with improved accessibility.

 

Cost of Healthcare

Along with more than 20 other organisations, ALONE is advocating for the right to homecare. The Government’s own Sláintecare report estimates that the cost of meeting unmet need in home care provision is €120 million.

While we work towards the right to homecare, ALONE is calling for Home Support Hours to be increased by at least 25 percent at a cost of €102 million.

ALONE is calling for:

  • €102 million funding for Home Support Hours.

 

Loneliness

More than one third of over-50s suffer from loneliness. Evidence highlights that older people experiencing high levels of loneliness are almost twice as likely to die within six years compared to those who are not lonely. ALONE has collaborated with Senator Keith Swanick to form the Loneliness Taskforce to coordinate a response to loneliness, and has offered recommendations to tackle loneliness and social isolation.

ALONE is calling for:

  • Annual funding of €3m towards combating loneliness, by running a public information campaign, supporting initiatives and organisation which alleviate loneliness, and funding Irish-specific research.

 

An independent charity, ALONE provides direct services through coordination of supports, befriending, information, phone services, technology, practical help and housing. The charity also supports over 50 organisations nationwide which ensures access to consistent, quality-assured and impact-proven services.

For those who have concerns about their own wellbeing, or the wellbeing of a vulnerable older person in the community, ALONE can be contacted on (01) 679 1032 or at www.alone.ie. The charity, which depends on donations from the public, has staff and volunteers ready to act on calls and requests for assistance.

 

ENDS

 

About ALONE

Established in 1977, ALONE supports older people to age at home. ALONE works with those who have issues with loneliness and social isolation, lack of services, poor health, poverty, homelessness or housing.  ALONE provides Support Coordination, Housing with Support, Befriending and Campaigning services to over 1,000 older people nationwide every week. ALONE’s services are quality approved and are delivered 365 days a year.

 

For more information contact:

Lauren Freir, Limelight Communications, lauren.freir@limelight.ie, 01 668 0600, 087 238 0853

Kathryn Byrne, Limelight Communications, kathryn.byrne@limelight.ie, 01 668 0600, 085 233 6033