ALONE responds to Budget 2018

Dublin, 10th October 2017 ALONE, the charity that supports older people to age at home, has welcomed the increase to the state pension, announced as part of Budget 2018, but stated that the government needs to do more to support Ireland’s aging demographic.

 

ALONE partnered with a number of other aging charities, including Active Retirement Ireland, Age Action, Age and Opportunity, Senior Citizens Parliament and Third Age, for their pre-budget submission where they called for an increase in the state pension, household benefits and a focus on transport in rural areas.

 

Following today’s Budget 2018 announcement, Sean Moynihan, CEO of ALONE, commented, “While we welcome the €5 increase to the pension, we have been campaigning for an indexing of the pension to ensure that its value is safeguarded for older people. This would end the yearly calls for pension increases and give older people fair financial independence.”

 

“Older people are highly dependent on the state pension and the vast majority rely on social welfare payments to protect them from poverty. There has to be particular concern for those living alone, those with incomplete contribution records who will not receive this increase – such as widows, carers, and people with long-term disability/illness.”

 

In terms of social benefits announced for older people, Moynihan commented, “Fuel allowance is to be increased but we would like to see it restored to a unit cost method. The new telephone support of €2.50 per week for those on the living alone and fuel allowance will enable older people to feel safe in their own homes but, again, not all older people will be entitled to this allowance. We would also like to see the Christmas bonus restored to 100%. This additional payment at Christmas time was abolished in 2008, a move which effectively took a full weekly social protection payment away.”

 

In response to the increased fund of €1.83 billion for housing in 2018, Moynihan commented, “We welcome this increase but there has been no mention of housing for older people or adaptive housing yet. If we focus on housing with supports for older people now, we won’t find ourselves in a situation of another housing crisis as the demographic continues to age.”

 

Following Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe’s announcement of a €90 million healthcare access plan that will ensure patients avail of medical care in the “most appropriate setting to them”, ALONE is hopeful that this will include homecare packages for older people. Moynihan said, “Studies show that 50% of older people waiting for, or sent to, nursing homes from hospital wished to remain at home and possibly could have done so, demonstrating the absolute need for there to be an increase in the home care budget to provide options for the older population across the country.”

 

Moynihan concluded, “ALONE will continue to campaign for the National Positive Aging Strategy, of which there was no mention in today’s Budget announcement. As Ireland’s older population is set to reach 1.4million over the next 30 years, supporting older people must be a priority for every government.”

 

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.

ALONE announce new media partnership with Dublin City FM

 

CEO of ALONE, Seán Moynihan and CEO of Dublin City FM, Mick Hanley
CEO of ALONE, Seán Moynihan and CEO of Dublin City FM, Mick Hanley

 

New alliance with Dublin City FM to offer further support towards older people in Dublin and across the nation

 

Dublin, 28th September 2017 ALONE, the charity that supports older people to age at home, are delighted to announce a new media partnership with Dublin City FM. This alliance will support the work of ALONE, as it aims to raise awareness of issues facing older people living in Ireland.

 

This new move will see ALONE’s work receive increased media presence, emphasising the issues concerning older people. ALONE provides services including Support Coordination, Befriending, Housing Support and campaigns on topics such as housing, poor services and more, which offer vital support to older people in Ireland. This new partnership will aim to improve awareness of this work and opportunities for public and recipient involvement.

 

Seán Moynihan, CEO of ALONE, commented, “We are delighted to begin this new partnership with Dublin City FM. It points to the prevalence of issues facing older people and highlights the importance of ALONE’s work as we fight to combat these. By partnering with us, Dublin City FM recognise these issues and I look forward to seeing how our work together can ultimately help older people.”

 

He continued, “This alliance will greatly help to communicate ALONE’s services and messages to the public, bringing such issues of homelessness, loneliness and lack of supports to the forefront of listeners’ awareness. This is of increasing importance as Ireland faces a rapidly growing older demographic.”

 

CEO of Dublin City FM, Mick Hanley, spoke on the new partnership, “Dublin City FM is excited to embark on this new partnership with ALONE. We greatly appreciate the work they have achieved and hope to support this work, and further the benefit to older people in Dublin. The issues that ALONE campaigns for are central to our society, deserving of attention and action. Together, Dublin City FM aims to be a part of this action.”

 

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

 dubcity103-2logo   alonelogoendline

About ALONE

2017 marks 40 years since ALONE was founded. Since then the charity has supported thousands of 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:

Maree Rigney, Limelight Communications, maree.rigney@limelight.ie, 01 668 0600, 086 3587153

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

 

 

This International Day of Older Persons ALONE calls on government to invest in Housing with Support

26th September 2017, Dublin  This International Day of Older Persons on 1st October, ALONE, the charity that supports older people to age at home, is celebrating the contribution of Ireland’s older generation and encouraging the public to recognise the older people in their family and community. The charity is highlighting the importance of positive aging in the community and the provision of supports to enable older people to age at home.

 

CEO of ALONE, Sean Moynihan said, “With Ireland’s older population set to reach 1.4 million over the next 30 years, the provision of quality home care packages for older people is a necessity. ALONE believes that it is vitally important that the government invest in services and supports in the community to enable older people to age at home.”

 

In 2016, 20% of older people had issues with home adaptations and 10% were unable to keep their home warm.[1] These numbers highlight the lack of housing choices and supports for older people in the community. ALONE believes that Ireland’s impending ageing demographic requires a move away from traditional models of care towards alternative models that harness community resources.

 

The charity has developed a technology platform, in partnership with NetwellCASALA, that supports older people to age well at home. The ALONE platform is operated through mobile apps and home sensors. The apps ask daily questions about health and wellbeing, with answers recorded on a tablet by the older person, and separately by a visiting neighbour, carer or family member. The combined answers form a unique pattern, and a change from this can trigger an intervention. Home sensors can detect if the resident has got up today, has entered the toilet or kitchen, and can trigger an intervention eg. raise an alarm that they may have fallen or are too unwell to get up.

 

Sean Moynihan continued, “A recent report by Active Retirement Ireland revealed that just 1% of their members wish to age in a nursing home.[2] Our platform will allow older people to age at home safely. It will improve the wellbeing of older people, give peace of mind to their families, carers and volunteer support network and equip existing community supports to enable them to age at home.”

 

ALONE has been calling on the government to look at Housing with Support models for older people so that they can age in the community. While Rebuilding Ireland’s target for this type of housing is 50 units, the demand is approximately 4,200 units nationally by 2020[3].

 

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

Note to the Editor:

2017 marks 40 years since ALONE was founded. Since then the charity has supported thousands of 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:

Maree Rigney, Limelight Communications, maree.rigney@limelight.ie, 01 668 0600, 086 3587153

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

 

 

[1] HaPAI survey 2016,

[2] http://www.activeirl.ie/news-events/report-just-1-of-older-people-want-to-age-in-nursing-homes-or-long-term-care-facilities

[3] ALONE Research

Neil Delamere launches ‘Dublin Amber Friendship Week’ in aid of ALONE

lva-dublinamber

Dublin, 18th  September 2017- Comedian Neil Delamere is calling on people throughout Dublin to gather their friends and head to their local pub next week in support of ALONE, the charity that supports older people to age at home. Dublin Amber Friendship Week, a community initiative of the Licensed Vintners Association (LVA), will take place in over 300 pubs in Dublin from Sunday 24th to Saturday 30th September 2017.

The LVA, which represents 600 Dublin publicans, has raised €100,000 for ALONE so far this year and hope to raise significant funds through Dublin Amber Friendship Week. To support the initiative, Guinness has brewed a limited edition beer, Dublin Amber Pale Ale. A joint donation of fifty cent for each pint of Dublin Amber sold in participating pubs will be made to ALONE by Guinness and the publican to support the expansion of its Befriending Service which provides companionship to older people who are socially isolated through a weekly volunteer visit. There will also be ALONE collection buckets in a number of participating pubs throughout the week.

Neil Delamere, speaking at the launch in Dublin today, said, “I am delighted to be here in Lemon & Duke to launch Dublin Amber Friendship Week on behalf of ALONE. It’s a great excuse to head down to the local with your friends, have a pint and raise money for a great cause.”

John Gleeson, Chairman of the LVA, explained how the LVA partnership with ALONE came about, “Last year, when we were discussing what charity to support during our bicentenary year, we came across Neil discussing ALONE’s Christmas campaign on ‘Brendan O’Connor’s Cutting Edge’ and it really struck a chord with us.”

He continued, “Given that Dublin Amber has only been available for a couple of months, we are delighted with the funds raised so far and will be relying on the public to help us reach our ambitious target of €200,000 by the end of our bicentenary year of 2017.”

Sean Moynihan, CEO of ALONE, commented, “We would like to thank Neil and Dublin’s publicans for supporting ALONE and Dublin Amber Friendship Week. With this campaign we hope to raise vital funds for ALONE’s Befriending Service. Together, we are working so that no older person is left without friendship and support.”

Dublin Amber is available on draught in hundreds of pubs across Dublin for a limited time.

For more information on Dublin Amber Friendship Week and participating pubs please follow @LVADublinPubs on Twitter or search ‘Licensed Vintners Association’ on Facebook. Also check for updates with our media part Publin.ie We would love to see your pictures using #DublinAmber

Dinner Dance in Dundalk celebrates ALONE’s North East expansion

dsc_0712

 

Dublin, 14th  September 2017  The music was playing and the dance floor was full of more than 160 people at the North East Hub Dinner Dance in The Carrickdale Hotel and Spa in Dundalk on Tuesday evening.

 

This is the first social event hosted by ALONE since they announced a new strategic partnership with Netwell CASALA, the research centre for ageing at DkIT, earlier this summer. The partnership has led to an expansion of existing social care and community support services for older people in the North East.

christinaoboyleandkathleenoreilly

ALONE dinner dances are held throughout the year in each of ALONE’s Hubs to give older people, their volunteers and staff an enjoyable day out and a chance to catch up with each other. There is always a beautiful meal, some great music and, of course, lots of dancing.

kathleenduffy

One attendee said, “I’ve got my dancing shoes on! It’s so wonderful to come out and see everyone, and to enjoy a delicious meal together.”

 

Since the launch in May, the North East Hub has seen  48 new volunteers and 41 older people matched with a Befriender in their area. Befriending makes a significant difference in the lives of the older person through a weekly visit and, usually, what grows into a genuine friendship.

ALONE’s North East Hub offers to bring greater resources and supports to the existing services in the area and aid anyone over the age of 60 to age at home and within their community.

 

If you or someone you know could benefit from the services and support of ALONE, please reach out hello@alone.ie or phone on 042 9330103 or 016791032.

 

ENDS

About ALONE

2017 marks 40 years since ALONE was founded. Since then the charity has supported thousands of 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:

Maree Rigney, Limelight Communications, maree.rigney@limelight.ie, 01 668 0600, 086 3587153

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

ALONE – Reintroduction of bedsits, along with pressure to downsize, will impact older people the most

 

 

ALONE expresses disappointment over new plans to be unveiled by Minister for Housing

 

Dublin, 13th September 2017  ALONE, the charity that supports older people to age at home, has expressed concern over Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy’s plans to re-introduce bedsits to tackle the homelessness crisis. In early 2013, it became illegal for landlords to rent out bedsit-type accommodation over concerns that many were dilapidated, run-down and inadequate for modern habitation.

 

Sean  Moynihan, CEO of ALONE, commented, “We are opposed to Minister Murphy’s plans to bring back single-room occupancy as a means of tackling the housing crisis. We see this as a backward step for the housing crisis. We in ALONE, along with many other organisations, have spent years campaigning for the abolition of bedsits. People may not be aware that bedsits mean shared bathrooms and we believe that all individuals deserve a home that is of a high standard with private sanitary facilities, proper heating appliances, and proper food preparation areas. The standard of housing needs to be improved not diminished.”

 

He continued, “In a time of extremely high rents, the government is rewarding landlords who have taken no actions to improve housing standards. Older people on fixed incomes cannot compete in the current rental sector and we would be concerned that it will be our older people who end up in living in these tiny bedsits.”

 

The ERSI’s report on Housing and Ireland’s Older population (2016) shows that the proportion of older people downsizing to bedsits and bedsit like accommodation, 4.6% premove and 11.2% postmove, is at a much higher rate than other movers. [1]

 

Moynihan continued, “ALONE isn’t opposed to downsizing for older people, we support older people moving to smaller, age-suitable homes in later life. However, in the light of these figures, rhetoric towards downsizing for older people coupled with the reintroduction of bedsits could have seriously unfortunate consequences for the older community in the future, particularly older single people. Studies have shown us that older persons spend more time in their home than any other demographic; the average 80 year old will spend 80% of their day at home. They need a space that they can live in – not somewhere to just exist.”

 

ALONE was founded 40 years ago to tackle the housing situation for older persons, today the housing situation is worse than ever. 87% of all older people in ALONE housing come from homeless services. There has been an 11.4 % growth in the number of people over 60 on the housing waiting list, this increases to 18.5 % in Dublin, and ALONE has an average of 25 applications for every housing unit that they provide.

 

Moynihan concluded “We have an ageing demographic and we need to make positive, sustainable plans for the future to ensure that older people are not going to be left surviving in substandard accommodation. In light of these comments, bedsits only account for 0.6% of the national residential stock. The Minister’s energy would be better focused on simplifying the process for developing social housing and housing with supports.”

Rebuilding Ireland’s target for housing with supports is 50 units, while the demand is approximately 4,200 units nationally. Repeated studies have demonstrated that ageing at home is the first choice of older people and their families.

 

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

2017 marks 40 years since ALONE was founded. Since then the charity has supported thousands of 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:

Maree Rigney, Limelight Communications, maree.rigney@limelight.ie, 01 668 0600, 086 3587153

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

[1] https://www.esri.ie/pubs/QEC2016SPR_SA_Barrett.pdf

ALONE calls on local authorities to prioritise the development of social housing for older people

Charity comments in advance of Emergency Housing Summit tomorrow

 

Dublin, 7th September 2017  In advance of the Emergency Housing Summit taking place in the Custom House tomorrow ALONE, the charity that supports older people to age at home, has expressed concern over the lack of housing options for older people throughout Ireland.

 

At the Emergency Housing Summit, Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Eoghan Murphy will meet with each of the 31 local authorities’ Chief Executives and the Department’s senior management housing team to explore additional measures to help and to house families and individuals currently in emergency accommodation and accessing emergency state supports.

 

CEO of ALONE, Sean Moynihan said, “87% of all older people in ALONE housing come from homeless services. There has been an 11.4 % growth in the number of people over 60 on the housing waiting list, this increases to 18.5 % in Dublin, and we have an average of 25 applications for every housing unit. Older people on fixed incomes cannot compete in the current rental sector.”

 

He continued, “The government needs to focus their energy on further housing choices for older people in communities throughout Ireland. In order to make this happen, local authorities need to be supported with funding and staffing resources as they are the only bodies that can deliver on the scale that is required. However, this may mean requesting the EU to amend borrowing rules for the greater good of society.”

 

ALONE outlined their reasons for prioritising housing units for older people:

  • Providing suitable units for older people will ease the pressure on the rental market
  • Smaller units are more cost effective to build
  • Smaller units are easier to locate and to secure planning permission for
  • To create movement in the market, with older people downsizing etc.
  • To respond to Ireland’s ageing demographic
  • To address the demand for individuals and couples on the housing lists
  • To avoid the next housing and homeless crisis

 

Moynihan concluded, “ALONE also provides housing with support to older people. While Rebuilding Ireland’s target for this type of housing is 50 units, the demand is approximately 4,200 units nationally. Repeated studies have demonstrated that ageing at home is the first choice of older people and their families. We hope that our points will be taken into consideration at the Housing Summit tomorrow as we believe that, with the support of local authorities and the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, we can greatly improve the lives of older people in Ireland.”

 

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

2017 marks 40 years since ALONE was founded. Since then the charity has supported thousands of 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:

Maree Rigney, Limelight Communications, maree.rigney@limelight.ie, 01 668 0600, 086 3587153

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

 

 

The benefits of Befriending

Benefits of befriending

 

Of the many things ALONE does, befriending is one area that truly impacts the lives of each older person we work with.

Thanks to the generous donation of time from our volunteers, 750 older people in Ireland are supported by a befriending service, either on the phone or with face-to-face visits.[1]

What is befriending?

“Befriending, or to befriend, is a way of providing an informal social relationship to an isolated person who might otherwise lack social support.”[2] This can be done in a number of ways from face-to-face visitation or telephone calls.

Who are our services for?

Our service is for anyone over 60 who feels lonely or isolated, or would like a friend. People who receive our support may be living alone in their own home, in social housing, in rented accommodation, in long-term care, or with family. There is no one type of person who can benefit; befriending is for anyone over the age of 60, regardless of their situation.

What are the benefits of befriending?

Regardless of a person’s situation, having a new friend or companion can be beneficial in many ways, but there are barriers to overcome. Some people do not identify as lonely and so therefore they don’t participate, they don’t want to engage because they are deterred by the stigma attached to being lonely, or they simply aren’t aware.

But the benefits of befriending far outweigh the risks. Not only does having a weekly visit combat loneliness and isolation, but social engagement has been proven to lower the risk of Alzheimer’[3]s and better cognitive function[4]. In addition to that, linking in with a befriending service can give people a sense of meaning, which can positively impact one’s mental health.[5]

Befriending can also be perceived as a health intervention that makes for appropriate use of health and social care services which could combat early admission to long term care .[6]

The most important thing to understand is that you don’t have to be in a certain situation to want to make a new friend–anyone can reach out and be put in touch with someone new.

To get in touch you can contact us at 01 6791032 or hello@alone.ie.

 

[1] Defining Befriending, ALONE document May 2017, pg 9

[2] Defining Befriending, ALONE document May 2017

[3] National Institute on Ageing 2016

[4] National Institute on Ageing (2016

[5] Kinsella 2015; Mead et al., 2010

[6] Mead et al., 2010)

News Release: Government focus should be on new technology & houses with support

NEWS RELEASE

 

ALONE – 

Charity responds to proposed changes to Fair Deal Nursing Home Support Scheme

 

Dublin, 31st August 2017  ALONE, the charity that supports older people to age at home, has welcomed proposed changes to the Fair Deal Nursing Home Support Scheme that would increase the disposable income of older people in nursing homes but highlights that there has been no follow up to a review of the Scheme[1] carried out 18 months ago.

 

A 2015 review of the Fair Deal Scheme recommended supported housing schemes linked to appropriate community care services that could offer an alternative option to support older people to age at home, and  the use of technology to facilitate and support new approaches to care for older people.

 

CEO of ALONE, Seán Moynihan said, “As the government’s policy is to support older people to age at home, we welcome this discussion on the issues surrounding the Fair Deal Scheme. However, we are still waiting on the suggested changes to the scheme that were published in the last government review a year and a half ago.”

 

He continued, “We all need to focus on alternative options to the Fair Deal Scheme including ways to support older people to age at home. The NHI survey in 2015 found 13% of those in long-term residential care are low dependency. In addition, an audit of St James Hospital at the time found that 24% of those referred to long-term residential care had low dependency and therefore could potentially benefit from supported living arrangements.”

 

ALONE believes that the energy needs to be focused on further housing choices and supports for older people in the community. Currently, 48% of people over 50 have housing condition problems[2] and the charity has expressed concern at the insufficient and inconsistent housing adaptation grants. ALONE has been calling on the government to look at Housing with Support models for older people so that they can age in the community. The demand for this model is 4,200 by 2020[3].

 

Moynihan concluded, “Nursing Homes play a key role in the care of those with high support needs. However, with Ireland’s older population set to reach 1.4 million over the next 30 years, the provision of quality home care packages for older people is a necessity. ALONE believes that it is vitally important to have services and supports in the community as these are of equal value to older people as an increase in disposable income.”

 

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’s manifesto visit www.alone.ie

 

ENDS

 

About ALONE

2017 marks 40 years since ALONE was founded. Since then the charity has supported thousands of 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:

Maree Rigney, Limelight Communications, maree.rigney@limelight.ie, 01 668 0600, 086 3587153

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

 

 

 

 

[1] http://health.gov.ie/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Review-of-Nursing-Homes-Support-Scheme.pdf

[2] HSE  Department of Health national indicators report 2016, page 89

[3] ALONE Research