How will you pay rent when you retire? Vincent Browne launches ALONE housing campaign

PRESS RELEASE

Dublin, 27th March 2018 ALONE, the charity that supports older people to age at home, has launched a campaign to raise awareness of the hidden housing crisis among older people. The organisation is calling on the Government to provide funding towards developing a new, age-friendly model of housing and to update Rebuilding Ireland to reflect the needs of an ageing Ireland.

At the launch of the campaign, former broadcaster and journalist Vincent Browne urged the government to prioritise housing for older people, “I am here today to support ALONE as they work to prevent the housing crisis faced by older people from becoming a homelessness crisis. With the number of over 65s set to increase dramatically in the next couple of decades, the situation for older people trying to secure rented and lifetime accommodation is set to get worse!”

Seán Moynihan, CEO of ALONE, commented, “As people age, they can often no longer afford to rent. Rents are currently exceeding their former peak in 2008.  The contributory state pension is €1,032.63 per month, but average market rent in Ireland is €1,227[1]. At the moment, an older person relying on their contributory pension can’t afford to rent a home. There is an assumption within the pensions system that older people do not need to rent or do not have accommodation costs, yet in 2016, there were 15,883 people over 60 in the private rental sector.”

ALONE’s campaign also highlights the falling rates of home ownership in Ireland which will impact the housing crisis further as the population ages. In 2016 there were 876,423 people aged over 60 living in Ireland. By 2031 it is estimated that this will grow to 1.42 million. ALONE believes that the problems older people face in obtaining rented and lifetime accommodation will only get worse unless action is taken.

Moynihan continued, “The housing crisis will only get worse as our population ages. The current generation can’t buy homes, but if nothing changes, huge numbers won’t be able to afford to rent as they age either. The private rental market is not suitable long-term for older people. Rented properties offer little security of tenancy and, in the current competitive rental market, we have heard from older people who are afraid to tell their landlord about issues with their accommodation in case their rent is increased. For most people when they retire, they lose 60% of their income.The thousands of older people who retire every year in private rented accommodation face a very uncertain future.”

ALONE works every day with older people who are losing their homes in the private rented sector, whose homes are unsuitable for them to live in, or who are homelesss. “We have begun to find occasions where we can’t provide a solution to some of the housing problems older people face, because appropriate rental accommodation and social housing is not available. From late 2015 to early 2018 the number of housing applications received by ALONE more than doubled. ALONE receive 20 applications for every house available, and there are 174 people currently on our waiting list. In terms of housing, our resources are stretched to maximum capacity,” said Moynihan.

Moynihan concluded, “We are calling on the Government to engage with ALONE and its partners in the Age Alliance to meet the commitments outlined in the National Positive Ageing Strategy since 2013, and to update Rebuilding Ireland to reflect the needs of an ageing Ireland. If nothing changes, the housing crisis is only going to get worse for older people. We need to act now to prevent a homelessness crisis among the over-60s, now and in the years to come.”

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 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:

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

Maree Rigney, Limelight Communications, maree.rigney@limelight.ie, 01 668 0600, 086 358 7153

[1] https://www.daft.ie/report/2017-Q4-rental-price-daft-report.pdf

ALONE invites collaboration from other organisations to tackle loneliness

PRESS RELEASE

Charity sets up Loneliness Taskforce in partnership with Senator Keith Swanick

Dublin, 13th March 2018  ALONE, the charity that supports older people to age at home, has collaborated with Senator Keith Swanick to form the Loneliness Taskforce, an initiative to coordinate a response to loneliness and social isolation in Ireland. The Loneliness Taskforce intends to increase awareness about the issue and to produce a set of recommendations for Government, state agencies and all policy makers. The Loneliness Taskforce, which is made up of a range of people from the community and voluntary sector, nursing, sport, business, medicine, youth work, psychiatry and NGOs, are currently looking for interested individuals, groups and other organisations’ input into a report. The report, which will be published in the coming months, will focus on what is needed to tackle the issue of loneliness in Ireland.

Seán Moynihan, CEO of ALONE, commented, “Loneliness is one of the greatest public health risks today. One in every ten older people suffer from chronic loneliness, and the problem is now also prevalent in young people. Research shows that loneliness and social isolation are harmful to our health and are worse for us than well-known risk factors such as obesity and physical inactivity.”

He continued, “ALONE has been working to fight against loneliness in older people since 1977, however, the issue has been growing among all ages over the last number of years and we can’t tackle it alone. This is why we have taken the lead with Senator Swanick to establish the Loneliness Taskforce. We are asking interest groups and other organisations to submit short term, medium term and long term proposals that could make a significant change to the issue of loneliness in Ireland.”

Senator Keith Swanick commented, “The decision to establish the Loneliness Taskforce arises from a passion to address the epidemic of loneliness and social isolation. Every day of my professional life I meet people who are lonely and this loneliness can have a devastating impact on the mental and physical health of people, with corresponding challenges for public services to meet these demands.  “We know that loneliness never discriminates between young or old, between rich or poor and between urban or rural and the Loneliness Taskforce is working to increase awareness about the issue and to produce a set of recommendations for Government, state agencies and all policy makers.”

ALONE’s Befriending service provides companionship to older people who are socially isolated. In 2014, it took the lead to establish Befriending Networks Ireland, which supported 6,500 people across the country in 2016.

Submissions or suggestions to the Loneliness Taskforce can be made via www.lonelinesstaskforce.com or by post to: Dr. Keith Swanick, Chairperson of the Loneliness Taskforce, Seanad Éireann, Kildare Street, Dublin 2. The deadline for receipt of submissions is Monday 9th April 2018.

 

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 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:

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

Maree Rigney, Limelight Communications, maree.rigney@limelight.ie, 01 668 0600, 086 358 7153

Take to the streets in support of ALONE at this year’s VHI Women’s Mini Marathon

 

8th March 2018 ALONE, the charity that supports older people to age at home, is calling on women throughout the country to participate in the VHI Women’s Mini Marathon in aid of ALONE. The charity aims to raise money for the day to day running of vital services for older people throughout the country.

Entries for the VHI Mini Marathon opened yesterday, 7th March, and this year the Mini Marathon takes place on Bank Holiday Monday, 3rd June. The course will be 10km long and the event will take place in Dublin City Centre. The VHI Women’s Mini Marathon is the largest all female event of its kind in the world and the largest one day charity event in Ireland.

Speaking about the event, CEO of ALONE Sean Moynihan said, “We are hoping that women from around Ireland will pledge their support to the older people in our communities and run the VHI Women’s Mini Marathon to raise much needed funds for ALONE.”

“Through the years, a high proportion of our volunteers and donors have always been female. We hope that women will choose to run for ALONE this year as all proceeds from this race will go directly towards services that support older people to age in the community”.

ALONE volunteer Amy Campbell has already signed up to the ALONE Mini-Marathon team. “We decided to do it for ALONE because I have recently started befriending through ALONE. I visit a lovely lady once a week and I feel it’s a good charity to do it for. My main tip is just to sign up and do it. The great thing about an event like the mini-marathon is that once you sign up, there’s no backing out, you kind of have to do it!”

All participants must enter either on the official Entry Form which will appear in The Herald every Wednesday and Saturday or online from 7th March 2018 at 11am. Go to www.vhiwomensminimarathon.ie and click on the Enter Here button at the top of the page.

For more information about how you can help fundraise for ALONE and to receive your ALONE mini-marathon pack email fundraising@alone.ie or call 01 679 1032.

 

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:

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

Maree Rigney, Limelight Communications, maree.rigney@limelight.ie, 01 668 0600, 086 358 7153

 

Befriending Network Ireland 2018 training dates

We’re delighted to announce the dates for our Befriending Network Ireland training sessions for 2018.

New: Service Set-up Basics Training

Befriending Network Ireland is delighted to introduce this new form of training for those who are in the process of setting-up a befriending network. In this training you’ll go through the core areas involved in setting up a service, including identifying a target group, geographic area coverage, naming your service, logo & branding, staffing structure, policies, sustainability, IT set-up, insurance and Garda vetting. It involves a full day of training in Dublin and the cost of the training is €30 per attendee. The training dates for this year are as follows:

Date and time: 30 March 2018, 10.30am to 4.30pm

Date and time: 15 June 2018, 10.30am to 4.30pm

Date and time: 24 August 2018, 10.30am to 4.30pm

Date and time: 26 October 2018, 10.30am to 4.30pm

Venue: ALONE Office, Olympic House, Pleasants Street, Dublin 8

 

Befriending Coordination Training

Befriending Coordination Training covers all aspects of coordinating a befriending service. This training is ideal for services starting up, as well as services that are up and running and would like a refresher or advice on certain aspects of running their service. Topics covered include befriender recruitment, boundaries, referrals, assessments, matching, supporting befriendees and befrienders, risk management and data management. It involves a full day of training in Dublin and the cost of the training is €30 per attendee. The training dates for this year are as follows:

Date and time: 6 April 2018, 10.30am to 4.30pm

Date and time: 29 June 2018, 10.30am to 4.30pm

Date and time: 14 September 2018, 10.30am to 4.30pm

Date and time: 16 November 2018, 10.30am to 4.30pm

Venue: ALONE Office, Olympic House, Pleasants Street, Dublin 8

 

Support and Case Management Training

This training is designed for services who are interested in setting up a service to address other needs that there service users may have outside of befriending or another core service that is already provided. The training is modelled on the Support Coordination service that ALONE provides to older people and covers areas such as brief interventions, comprehensive interventions, case management and advocacy. It involves a full day of training in Dublin and the cost is €30 per attendee. The training dates for this year are as follows:

Date and time: 27 April 2018, 10.30am to 4.30pm

Date and time: 22 June 2018, 10.30am to 4.30pm

Date and time: 30 November 2018, 10.30am to 4.30pm

Venue: ALONE Office, Olympic House, Pleasants Street, Dublin 8

 If you are interested in attending any of these training sessions please email caroline.muller@alone.ie or call ALONE on 01-6791032.

VHI Mini Marathon in aid of ALONE

Registration for the VHI Mini Marathon is now open!

We are looking for people to take part in the VHI Mini Marathon in aid of ALONE.

This year the marathon takes place on Sunday, 3rd of June at 2pm. The 10km walk/run will start at Fitzwilliam Place, Dublin 2 and finish on Pembroke road.

To take part in the event, register at https://www.vhiwomensminimarathon.ie/ and email Fundraising@alone.ie to let us know your registered. That way we can send you out your sponsor cards and T-shirts!

Check out our video below, where Amy explains how she got involved in the VHI Mini Marathon, why she choose ALONE and how she sponsors.

 

ALONE urges caution and not to risk slips & falls

PRESS RELEASE

Charity asks communities to maintain contact with older living alone

Dublin, 4th March 2018  ALONE, the charity that supports older people to age at home, is urging older people to continue to take extra care and not take any unnecessary risks of slips or falls in the aftermath of Storm Emma.  They also ask members of the public to check in on their elderly neighbours.

Seán Moynihan, CEO of ALONE commented, “In the aftermath of the heavy snow, older people may think the paths and roads are now safe to walk on. However, thawing snow and slush can be extremely dangerous and a major fall hazard.  The most dangerous fracture is a hip fracture and sadly up to 24 per cent of patients who suffer a hip fracture die within a year, 33% are totally dependent or in a nursing home and only 40 per cent can live independently at home1.”

He continued, “We commend everyone for their terrific community spirit in looking out for older people over the past week and ask that you continue to remember your older neighbours living alone and to consider their needs, especially those with health issues, and those with limited mobility. A visit from a friend, family member, or neighbour to check on an older person’s heating levels, food supplies and security, as well as to simply offer some company, can make a huge difference.”

“ALONE is urging older people to take extra care and encouraging those who are concerned about their own wellbeing during this adverse weather to call for assistance and help if needed.  ALONE has volunteers and staff ready to assist and advise on issues relating to food, heat, or medication.”

ALONE’s phone line (01) 679 1032 is open 9am to 9pm, during the continuing extreme weather conditions.

ALONE would like to thank staff, volunteers and supporters across the country for their continued hard work in the ongoing challenging weather conditions. A team of 60 made up of staff and volunteers were on call since Thursday. Phone contact was made with 1,000 older people to check they were comfortable. Sixty older people contacted ALONE directly seeking support, and members of ALONE made 20 direct visits to older people to assist with heat, medication and food.

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

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 visit www.alone.ie.

ENDS

 Note 1 : Source International Osteoporosis Foundation https://www.iofbonehealth.org/facts-statistics

 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:

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

Maree Rigney, Limelight Communications, maree.rigney@limelight.ie, 01 668 0600, 086 358 7153

Day 2 of Storm Emma: Advice for older people in ongoing cold weather

A red weather warning remains in place for Leinster, Munster and Galway. This means you should not travel or go out on the roads.

Make sure to keep yourself safe if you are helping others. If you have an emergency, contact 999. For any other concerns, you can contact ALONE from 9am-9pm on 01 679 1032.

If you or an older person you know need to stay safe:

  • Stay inside until the bad weather passes.
  • Keep windows locked and pets inside.
  • Stay warm and keep the heating on as much as necessary. Electricity suppliers are confirming that pay as you go customers will not be cut off if they don’t top up.
  • Keep in touch with family members, friends and neighbours.
  • Keep in contact through radio, TV and the internet for updates.
  • Be prepared for power outages over the coming days as the bad weather continues.
  • Charge your mobile phone or any other devices you may need in case you lose power.
  • If you do not already have torches or matches, try to make do with what you have. Do not go out to get supplies.
  • Keep important supplies, like torches, in easy-to-reach places.

If you’ve lost power/heating:

  • Don’t panic. ESB will be aware of the outages in your area and will be in touch.
  • Consider whether you’re at risk. You may have enough heating/blankets etc to get by until the worst of the weather has passed.
  • Stick to using torches if possible. Burn candles responsibly and do not leave them unattended.
  • Call service providers, plumbers, or any other assistance you might need, or ask someone you know to call for you. Get advice on a temporary solution over the phone if immediate assistance isn’t possible.
  • If there is an imminent risk, call emergency services. For power emergencies call 1850 372 999.

If you have concerns about food:

  • Consider whether you’re at risk. You may have enough supplies to get by until the worst weather has passed.
  • Remember that the situation will pass.
  • Contact family, friends or neighbours close by that can help.
  • Check if there are local supports, such as shops, that are open. Someone nearby may be able to get or organise supplies to be brought to you.

If you’ve run out of essential medication:

  • Consider whether you’re at risk. You may have enough medication to get by.
  • Remember that the situation will pass.
  • Check if there are local supports such as a doctor or a pharmacist. Get advice on a temporary solution over the phone if immediate assistance isn’t available.
  • If you need essential medication urgently, or are in danger, call emergency services – 999.

ALONE welcomes government announcement to double fuel allowance

PRESS RELEASE

 

ALONE welcomes government announcement to double fuel allowance

Charity urges older people to stay warm during red weather alert

Dublin, 28th February 2018  ALONE, the charity that supports older people to age at home, has welcomed today’s announcement by Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty to double the fuel allowance of €22.50 to €45 for one week in response to the red weather warning by Met Eireann.

Sean Moynihan, CEO of ALONE, said “This weather is a public health issue. Following heavy snowfall overnight, it’s really important that older people stay warm by turning on their home heating, wearing layers of light but warm clothing, eating at least one hot meal a day and staying indoors where possible.”

Moynihan added, “Cold temperatures can have a serious affect on many older people, in particular those living alone, those with health issues, and those with limited mobility. Given that 50% of Excess Winter Deaths (EWDs) experienced in Ireland can be linked to poor thermal efficiency, that is, poor heating and insulation, in the dwellings[1], ALONE is urging older people to take extra care and encouraging those who are concerned about their own wellbeing during the cold weather to call for assistance and help if needed. ALONE has volunteers and staff ready to assist and advise on issues relating to food, heat, or medication.”

He continued, “We are also calling on the general public to remember their older neighbours living alone and to check on their heating levels, food supplies and security, as well as to simply offer some company.”

ALONE would also like to thank our staff, volunteers and supporters across the country for their continued hard work in the ongoing cold weather.

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

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 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:

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

Maree Rigney, Limelight Communications, maree.rigney@limelight.ie, 01 668 0600, 086 358 7153

[1] (DCENR): A Strategy to Combat Energy Poverty: 2016-2019,p. 27

ALONE expresses concern for older people during Storm Emma

PRESS RELEASE

 ALONE expresses concern for older people during Storm Emma

Charity calls on public to check on older neighbours

Dublin, 27th February 2018  ALONE, the charity that supports older people to age at home, is urging older people to take extra care following the status red weather warning by Met Eireann this morning. ALONE has backed Minister Jim Daly’s call to older people to prioritise their spending on heating in the coming days.

Sean Moynihan, CEO of ALONE, said “We’re advising older people to stay warm in the cold weather by ensuring they have adequate home heating, wearing layers of light but warm clothing, eating at least one hot meal a day and staying indoors where possible.”

Moynihan added, “Cold temperatures can have a serious affect on many older people, in particular those living alone, those with health issues, and those with limited mobility. Given that 50% of Excess Winter Deaths (EWDs) experienced in Ireland can be linked to poor thermal efficiency, that is poor heating and insulation, in the dwellings[1], ALONE is urging older people to take extra care and encouraging those who are concerned about their own wellbeing during the cold weather to call for assistance and help if needed.”

He continued, “We are also calling on the general public to remember their older neighbours living alone and to check on their heating levels, food supplies and security, as well as to simply offer some company.”

ALONE would also like to thank our staff, volunteers and supporters across the country for their continued hard work in the ongoing cold weather.

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

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 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:

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

Maree Rigney, Limelight Communications, maree.rigney@limelight.ie, 01 668 0600, 086 358 7153

[1] (DCENR): A Strategy to Combat Energy Poverty: 2016-2019,p. 27

Advice for older people in cold weather

Ahead of Storm Emma and the bad weather forecast for this week, we have compiled a list of tips for older people on how to prepare and cope. Please share this advice with anyone who may be in need of it. For older people, cold weather can be more than just an inconvenience.

Advice for older people in cold weather

Staying well and warm:

  • Eat hot meals regularly and drink plenty of fluids. This will keep you warm.
  • Have enough fuel supplies to keep your house warm. Spending your money on heating is a priority for you: keep your heating on all day.
  • Keep as active as possible. If you can, do some light exercise indoors.
  • Make sure you have enough of any medication you need for a week. If you need medication, call your pharmacist.
  • Check you have enough food, water and fuel.
  • Ask family, friends and neighbours for help if you need it.
  • Make sure you have enough credit on your mobile phone.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation: alcoholic drinks can make you lose body heat.
  • Make sure your heating system is working (that is, central heating, gas, electricity).
  • To save on heating bills, close off rooms you are not using.
  • Make sure your house isn’t losing heat through windows. Keep your blinds and curtains closed.

Staying safe:

  • Avoid all unnecessary travel.
  • Write down important contact numbers and keep them beside your phone. Don’t forget emergency numbers: 999 or 112.
  • Emergency SMS number: 112. If you are hard of hearing, deaf or have speech difficulties, in an emergency send a text to 112. They will contact the Gardaí for you.

Clothing:

  • Wear well-fitted shoes with non-slip soles if you have to leave the house. Take these off as soon as you get inside so that you don’t trip.
  • Dress warmly even if you are staying in the house. Throw a blanket over your legs. Wear socks and slippers.
  • When you go to bed, use extra blankets.
  • Avoid being out in the wind; a wind can quickly lower your body temperature.
  • Wear loose layers of clothing. The air between the layers can help to keep you warm.
  • Wear a hat and scarf.
  • Change your clothes if they get damp or wet.

Advice for friends or relatives of older people in cold weather

  • Call up your older friend daily to ensure they are feeling okay. If possible, check in on them before bad weather hits.
  • Ask whether they need assistance with getting food, fuel, or water supplies.

General information:

  • For information on public transport, check www.dublinbus.ie (01 8734222), www.irishrail.ie (01 8366222), www.luas.ie (01 4614911) and www.buseireann.ie (1850 836 611).
  • For information on power outages, check www.esbpowercheck.ie. Phone 1850 372 999 to report outages.
  • For information about road conditions, check the three websites of Transport Infrastructure Ireland at www.tii.ie, www.tiitraffic.ie and www.winterready.ie.
  • For further tips and details about how you can prepare for the cold weather, check www.winterready.ie
  • Keep up to date with www.alone.ie. Call ALONE at 01 6791032 if you’re in need of assistance.