ALONE report calls on the Oireachtas to take action to prevent a housing crisis for older people

The report is available online now: Housing Choices for Older People in Ireland – Time for Action

PRESS RELEASE

Charity supporting older people has called for a spectrum of housing options for older people

Dublin, 12th June 2018 ALONE, the charity that supports older people to age at home, is calling on the Oireachtas to provide €84.5m a year over the next 10 years in the form of home adaptation grants and to develop an additional 122,000 units of housing for older people.

The calls come as the charity releases its report ‘Housing Choices For Older People in Ireland – Time for Action’ today.

ALONE’s report calls for a greater spectrum of housing for older people under the Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan, saying there is a need for “innovative thinking and initiatives to offer meaningful housing choices to people as they age.”

Seán Moynihan, CEO of ALONE said “We believe that now is the time for action on housing for older people. Over the last 30 years we have seen many reports which have called for changes in housing provision for older people. Now, we have established the demand for the various types of housing and we need the Oireachtas to act on it.”

“We are glad to see the recommendations from the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing for Older People this week which are taking the first step towards developing housing for all. It is great that the Joint Oireachtas Committee agrees that we must start working on this now. We hope that the various Ministers, TDs and Senators will get behind our report and implement real change for older people. 25% people over 55 (283,633 people) are experiencing problems with housing maintenance, and 20% (234,848) have housing facility problems. But 29% of people would consider moving to adapted housing if it was available to them.”

ALONE is calling for 59,462 purpose built homes within communities, 45,902 supportive housing and housing with supports units, 16,307 shared housing units and 13,000 new nursing home spaces. While this is significantly higher than the total target of Rebuilding Ireland to deliver 50,000 social housing units by 2021, ALONE believe that these targets are the minimum required in order to cope with our ageing population.

“There is a pressing need for change as we expect the population of over 60s in Ireland to increase to over 1 million by 2021, and 1.3 million by 2031. If the numbers of older people are increasing, services and housing provision need to increase to match it. ALONE is here today to offer a solution which will not only support older people to age in the location of their choice, but will help to ease the housing crisis across all age groups,” he said.

“The benefits of building housing for older people as a solution to the housing crisis have never been fully discussed, but we believe that this could go a long way towards improving housing for everyone. The cost of building smaller homes for older people is estimated to be between €10,000 and €20,000 cheaper per unit than building three and four bed family homes. This would enable savings of €150m for every 10,000 one and two bed homes built, as older people choose to ‘rightsize’ and move to more suitable accommodation with the appropriate supports in place. It would also make larger properties available to bigger families.”

The report stresses that a new spectrum of housing such as that proposed by ALONE should not only take into consideration the needs of older people from a health, community and social inclusion perspective, but also show an awareness of the need for different price points. ALONE believes that older people should be enabled to have options in their housing, rather than being limited in their choice by their support needs.

“Currently, if an older person is in need of support, sometimes their only choice is to move into a nursing home. This lack of intermediate supports is costing the Government through the Fair Deal scheme and costing older person their choice to remain at home.”

Moynihan added, “It is vitally important that we provide choice in housing to older people to allow them to age in surroundings comfortable to them. Our research has shown that funding housing with support options, through adaptation grants etc, will save government money and protect the independence of the older person.”

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, 086 233 6033

ALONE express concern for vulnerable older people ahead of heatwave

PRESS RELEASE

Charity asks communities to maintain contact with older living alone

Dublin, 25th June 2018  ALONE, the charity that supports older people to age at home, is urging older people to take extra care as temperatures expect to approach 30 degrees this week.  They also ask members of the public to check in on their elderly neighbours.

Met Eireann have forecast hot weather conditions for the coming week, with overnight temperatures reaching low to mid teens. ALONE are encouraging older people to stay hydrated, avoid direct sunlight for extended periods and wear lighter clothes made of natural fabrics.

Seán Moynihan, CEO of ALONE commented, “Older people, and their families and neighbours, should be conscious that they are more at risk of dehydration.  Older people’s receptors for thirst are less keen, so they can go for extended periods without feeling the need to drink even if they’re verging on dehydration. What’s more, factors such as poor circulation, heart, lung or kidney problems can also heighten the dangers.”

He continued, “We ask that everyone remembers their 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 food and water supplies and security, as well as to simply offer some company, can make a huge difference.”

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

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

 

Loneliness Taskforce calls for €3 million annual funding to combat loneliness

PRESS RELEASE

‘A Connected Ireland’ Report launched in the Royal College of Surgeons today

13/6/18 Prof Brian Lawlor, St Vincents Hospital, Justin McNulty, SDLP MLA Newry and Armagh, Dr Eddie Murphy, Psychologist, Sinead Dooley, Deputy CEO Irish Rural Link, Dr Keith Swanick, Spokesperson on Health and Mental Health in the Seanad, Sean Moynihan, CEO Alone, Sabrina McEntee, Youthreach, Cavan at the launch of the Connected Ireland Report by the Loneliness Taskforce at the Royal College of Surgeons, which calling for 3 million euro annual funding be maid available by the Government to combat loneliness. Picture:Arthur Carron

 

Dublin, 13th June 2018: The Loneliness Taskforce has launched its report recommending that the Government take action on loneliness in the Royal College of Surgeons (RCSI) today.

The report, titled ‘A Connected Ireland’, recommends that annual funding of €3 million be put towards combating loneliness; responsibility to combat loneliness is allocated to a specific Minister and Government department; a public campaign is undertaken; support is offered to initiatives and organisations which alleviate loneliness as their primary function; an action plan for volunteering is initiated; and Irish-specific research on loneliness is undertaken.

The Loneliness Taskforce was established by Dr. Keith Swanick in collaboration with the CEO of ALONE, Seán Moynihan, to coordinate a response to the epidemic of loneliness and social isolation in Ireland. Members of the Taskforce include Professor John Hillery, Justin McNulty MLA, Professor Brian Lawlor, Dr Eddie Murphy, Professor Roger O’Sullivan, Sabrina McEntee, Sinead Dooley, Anne Lynott and Sean Gallagher.

The Taskforce received more than 300 submissions from the general public, Oireachtas and Northern Ireland Assembly Members, MEPs, NGOs, Local Authorities, Public Participation Networks, and Volunteer Networks across the country, both North and South.

Seán Moynihan, CEO of ALONE said at the launch, “We urge all members of Government not just to read this report, but to act on the recommendations we have made. The submissions to the Taskforce included hundreds of ideas for recommendations to the Government to address loneliness. The level of interest in the work of the Taskforce shows how vital this issue is to the people of Ireland.”

Moynihan continued, “We have recommended that €3 million in funding be provided annually to alleviate loneliness, but this is just the beginning. We need research, campaigning, and support for initiatives which address loneliness to be implemented now and for the foreseeable future. I hope that this conversation and the actions the Taskforce has started will continue well after this initial funding is spent.”

Chairperson of the Loneliness Taskforce, Dr Keith Swanick said, “The goal of reducing unnecessary loneliness and isolation is a challenge, but it is achievable.”

He continued, “As a nation, Ireland is ageing with the percentage of people over 70 growing faster than the rest of the population. It was very evident from the submissions that loneliness is not confined to the old and the rise in single-person households plus the increased pressures on young people are also contributing to the risk of loneliness.”

The report, which lays out a vision for “an Ireland free from loneliness”, was launched by the members of the Taskforce at an event attended by members of the Oireachtas, local authority representatives and members of the NGO sector.

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

 

ALONE hosts BNI ‘Building Stronger Communities’ Seminar

PRESS RELEASE

Minister Seán Kyne opens Befriending Network Ireland Seminar

 

19/5/18 Sean Moynihan, CEO Alone, Caroline Muller-Wallace, Alone BNI co-ordinator and Minister Sean Kyne at the ALONE BNI conference at the Ashling Hotel in Dublin. Picture:Arthur Carron

Dublin, 24th May 2018   The Befriending Network Ireland (BNI) seminar, organised by ALONE, the charity that supports older people to age at home, took place in the Ashling Hotel in Dublin earlier today.

The seminar was opened by Minister of State at the Department of Rural and Community Development, Seán Kyne, and included an address by Professor Brian Lawlor, Conolly Norman Professor of Old Age Psychiatry at Trinity College Dublin and Consultant Psychiatrist at St James’ Hospital. More than twenty befriending organisations from across the country attended the BNI seminar.

Speaking at the conference, Minister Kyne said, “I am delighted to be here to open the BNI seminar and to celebrate the role befriending can play in creating friendships and combating loneliness across the country. Our ageing demographic and changing society means that initiatives like BNI are more vital than ever. These Befriending organisations, and their volunteers, play a huge role in building stronger communities across Ireland.”

Established by a number of befriending organisations across Ireland in 2015, Befriending Network Ireland (BNI) has grown to a national network of more than 60 organisations. The seminar comes at the end of a week celebrating the central role BNI organisations have in communities across the country.

Seán Moynihan, CEO of ALONE, said, “These organisations are the glue that holds communities together. ALONE is delighted to host BNI and to ensure that everyone in Ireland has access to quality-assured services, regardless of location or service provider. It is fantastic to watch the network growing every year.”

The importance of technology in supporting older people to age at home was also emphasised as ALONE launched its new befriending app, BFriend, at the seminar. The new mobile application allows volunteers and staff to record their visits to people in the community, feedback any concerns or good news about the older person, stay up to date with events such as volunteer socials and communicate with other volunteers. Developed by ALONE in partnership with Netwell CASALA, it is a key element of ALONE’s wider BConnect service for training and technology.

Seán Moynihan said, “Every volunteer will have access to BFriend when they are out on their visits. This will help us to keep our volunteers safe. It will also help us to better support older people as we receive important updates from our volunteers in real-time.”

Following a six month trial period in 2017, BFriend is now available for befriending organisations as a web application, on Android, and on iOS. The aim is to have 15,000 volunteers using the app by 2022.

 

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 celebrates reaching 1000 volunteers during National Volunteering Week

PRESS RELEASE

Charity supporting older people is encouraging people to get involved with volunteering

 

Dublin, 15th May 2018: ALONE, the charity that supports older people to age at home, is encouraging people to take part in this year’s National Volunteering Week as they celebrate reaching 1,000 volunteers today.

This is a landmark achievement for the charity. ALONE hopes that even more people will be inspired to dedicate their time to helping others.

Seán Moynihan, CEO of ALONE, said, “After 40 years of service, we are delighted to be taking our 1000th volunteer on board. ALONE began as a small organisation in Dublin run by 30 volunteers. Today we have 1,000 volunteers and we help thousands of people across the country every year. Over the coming years we plan to increase this number to 9,000 volunteers so that we can meet the increasing demand for befriending and support.”

“We hope that more people are encouraged by National Volunteering Week to get involved in something bigger than themselves. As our population ages, volunteers will be more vital than ever to help to combat loneliness,” he said.

ALONE’s 1000th volunteer, Josephine Lennon from Malahide, Co. Dublin, was presented with a certificate by ALONE’s longest-running volunteer, Máire Ní Bháin, after her volunteer training yesterday evening. Máire has been volunteering with ALONE for 36 years.

“I always worked, but following a cancer diagnosis in 2014, I had to stop working. So there was a question about what I was going to do with my time, because I have lots to contribute,” said Josephine. “ALONE kept coming back as something I wanted to do. Loneliness is a common experience for people who have cancer. It made me really value friendship.”

“With volunteering, you get so much more back than you give. It’s very rewarding. It gives you a real purpose and it helps you make a difference.”

ALONE volunteers make more than 35,000 visits to older people and give countless hours of practical and emotional support, both in person and over the phone, every year. The value of volunteers to ALONE is worth more than €500,000 per year. Most of ALONE’s volunteers take part in Befriending, but Volunteers also help out at events like dinner dances, cinema trips and holidays, and help with administration.

Moynihan added, “ALONE greatly values the time and effort offered by our volunteers throughout the year. We would not still be here without their dedication. It is our strong community of volunteers who allow us to help so many people each week.”

“What is so special about volunteering is the benefits to both involved, particularly the relationship between the Befriending volunteer and older person. Volunteering is good for you – it keeps you active, builds communities, and can change your life,” said Moynihan.

ALONE is always looking for more volunteers to expand the services and reach more people in need of assistance. For more information and to learn how to offer your time to ALONE, please visit www.ALONE.ie/contact-us.

 

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

First meeting of the Loneliness Taskforce takes place

PRESS RELEASE

Over 300 submissions received as Taskforce coordinates a response to loneliness in Ireland

Dublin, 9th May 2018: The Loneliness Taskforce has had its first meeting today in Leinster House.

The Loneliness Taskforce was established by Dr. Keith Swanick in collaboration with the CEO of ALONE, Seán Moynihan, to coordinate a response to the epidemic of loneliness and social isolation in Ireland. Through its work, the Loneliness Taskforce is seeking to increase awareness about the issue and to produce a set of recommendations for Government, state agencies and all policy makers.

Over 300 submissions have been received by the Taskforce sent from the general public, Oireachtas and Northern Ireland Assembly Members, MEPs, NGOs, Local Authorities, Public Participation Networks, and Volunteer Networks across the country, both North and South. The establishment of the Taskforce has created a much-needed national conversation on the loneliness and social isolation faced by people in Ireland.

Seán Moynihan, CEO of ALONE said, “We have been overwhelmed at the level of interest and support the Taskforce has received from all over the country, and particularly the huge number of people who have offered their help.”

Moynihan continued, “We look forward to making progress with our report and presenting it to the Government, and we hope that meaningful action is taken as a result. Loneliness is not something to be brushed off – it is a public health issue, one that needs serious consideration.”

Chairperson of the Loneliness Taskforce, Dr Keith Swanick said, “As a GP, in my practice in rural Ireland, I often see the profound medical and mental health problems which are often exacerbated by loneliness. I am well aware however, that Loneliness crosses the rural-urban divide and I witnessed the same problems a number of years ago as a GP in the heart of Finglas.”

He continued, “Through the submissions we have received, the Taskforce has heard from people who are young, new parents, those who are divorced or a single parent, from people with disabilities, returning emigrants, home carers and entrepreneurs. We can say with certainty that loneliness never discriminates between young and old, rich and poor or urban and rural.”

The Loneliness Taskforce includes members from the education, sporting, nursing, psychology, business and academic sectors. It is hoped that the Taskforce will release their report with recommendations for Government, state agencies and all policy makers in the summer.

 

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

 

ALONE welcomes announcement of €15 million funding for Housing with Support Demonstrator Project

PRESS RELEASE

Charity also welcomes increase in funding for the Housing Adaptation Grant

Dublin, 4th May 2018: ALONE, the charity that supports older people to age at home, has welcomed Minister Damien English’s announcement of €15 million funding for the Housing with Support Demonstrator Project today. The project is being developed by ALONE and Circle VHA with support from the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, the Department of Health, Dublin City Council and the HSE.

The Minister’s comments came at today’s launch of the Evaluation of Phase One of the Demonstrator Project under the Rebuilding Ireland programme in the Mansion House, Dublin, in the presence of the Lord Mayor.

It is planned that Circle will build 52 units of age-friendly homes in Inchicore, Dublin 8, and ALONE will provide support to the tenants and older people in the surrounding area. It is hoped that the Housing with Support Model will be replicated by agencies all over the country.

Seán Moynihan, CEO of ALONE, said “ALONE is proud to be working on this groundbreaking Demonstrator Project to introduce the Housing with Support Model to Ireland. There is an urgent need to develop and provide practical housing choices for older people living in Ireland who may have support requirements, and whose needs may change as they age. The Housing with Support Model, to be built in Inchicore, will provide 52 age-friendly homes for older people requiring various levels of support.”

Moynihan added, “We are looking forward to developing the Housing with Support Model and are delighted that in the coming years, ALONE and Circle VHA will be working together to offer a new choice of housing which is replicable, scalable, and most of all, desirable, for older people in Ireland.”

ALONE also welcomed the 11% increase in funding for the Housing Adaptation Grant which was announced by the Minister at the meeting.

“We welcome the fact that this is a double digit increase in funding. From our work on the ground, we know that the demand for Housing Adaptation Grants is high and the system is complex. We will work with the Minister and Department of Housing over the coming years to bring this to a demand-led model, one which is accessible and straightforward,” Moynihan said.

The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Micheál Mac Donncha, also supported the important progress made with the Housing with Support Model. Recognising the growing issue surrounding housing for older people in Ireland, the Lord Mayor cited that a doubling of those aged over-65, and quadrupling of those over 80 is expecting by 2045.

“I believe this project will act as a model that other housing providers can replicate. I look forward to seeing the results of this unique and positive development, which I believe will set a new standard for the future of housing provision for older persons in Ireland,” he said.

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

€3.5 million in state housing funding awarded to ALONE

PRESS RELEASE

Charity acquire 16 new homes in Dublin 8 to house older people

Dublin, 26 April 2018: ALONE, the charity that supports older people to age at home, has acquired sixteen units to house older people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

The units were bought by ALONE using funding made available by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government through Dublin City Council (DCC), combined with loan finance advanced by the Housing Finance Agency (HFA). The purchase of the units is part of the Government’s Rebuilding Ireland action plan. ALONE will now renovate these homes to an age-friendly standard with assistance from Community Finance Ireland (CFI).

This is the biggest ever acquisition of new property by ALONE.

Seán Moynihan, CEO of ALONE, said: “None of this would have been possible without the assistance of the Department of Housing, the HFA, DCC and CFI. We would like to sincerely thank them for their assistance with this project.”

We are delighted that we will be able to offer these soon-to-be renovated homes to older people who have housing needs. When the new tenants move in this summer they will have a home of their own, with their own front door and a life-long tenancy. And ALONE will be there to support them all the way.”

Moynihan also drew attention to the developing housing crisis among older people. “While this will make a huge difference in the lives of the older people who move into these homes, we also recognise that we must compare this to the number of older people who have housing difficulties. There are almost 200 people on ALONE’s waiting list for housing.”

At a recent ALONE property allocation, the charity had to make the difficult decision of choosing one person who was in most need of housing to offer the home to. Just one person of the 24 people aged over 60 who wanted the property could be offered it.

Moynihan believes that with continued expansion, ALONE will be able to deliver more housing for older people in need. “Over the next five years, we plan to more than double the number of our housing units so that we can continue to support the growing numbers of older people who have housing difficulties. These homes in Dublin 8 are a fantastic addition and will help in our mission for every older person in Ireland to age happily and securely in their own home.”

He added once more his appreciation to the state agencies and staff who worked so hard and were so supportive of ALONE to achieve this result. “We hope that we can all continue to work together to make sure that no older person is left without a home.”

Barry O’ Leary, CEO of the HFA said, “We are delighted to collaborate with ALONE to fund the purchase of these new homes for older people. Our low cost finance has enabled the delivery of these age friendly homes which offer older people peace of mind and security for the remainder of their lives.”

“This integrated approach of housing bodies and organisations is essential for the proper development of further housing for older people. We look forward to seeing the newly renovated units which will offer older people a secure, age-friendly home and community.”

This announcement comes during the charity’s housing campaign ‘How will you pay the rent when you retire?’ which calls on the government to provide funding towards developing new, age-friendly models of housing to reflect the needs of an ageing Ireland.

 

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

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

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