ALONE calls on public to visit older people this Friendship Week 13th-17th February

Dublin, 13th February 2017 ALONE, the charity that supports older people to age at home, is highlighting the importance of their Befriending Service during Friendship Week 2017 (13th-17th February). ALONE believes that Befriending can act as a preventative health measure in tackling the effects of loneliness among older people.

In Ireland, one third of older people over 65 live alone and 60% of people aged over 80 live alone. In recent years, a wide range of studies have shown that isolation and loneliness affect the physical, mental and emotional wellbeing of an individual. With the number of over-65s living in Ireland expected to increase to 1.4 million by 2046, ALONE is reminding the general public to extend the hand of friendship to the older members of their communities this Friendship Week.

Sean Moynihan, CEO of ALONE commented, “It is vitally important that as we age we maintain strong links with our local community. Older people need good services of a consistent quality, to ensure that they don’t slip through the cracks and become isolated from other people”.

ALONE’s Befriending Service provides companionship to over 500 older people who are socially isolated through a weekly volunteer visit as well as a range of social events. ALONE are continually developing the service to ensure that all older people who require it will have access to a quality assured Befriending Service.

Sean Moynihan commented, “As an organisation that works with older people, we see firsthand the effects of loneliness. I don’t think that people are aware just how devastating loneliness can be for your general health. Not only can loneliness lead to depression, but it is also a predictor for dementia, cardiovascular disease and decreased immune system responsiveness. Loneliness is twice as dangerous to the health of an older person as obesity, and is as damaging as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.”

He continued “Many older people think that by asking for help and support they are bothering people. We want them to know that they deserve more than a little help and support and they shouldn’t be afraid to ask for it.”

Befriending Network Ireland, led by ALONE, is a national network of Befriending Services for vulnerable and older people that aims are to provide training, quality, transparency as well as a national voice for befriending. ALONE is the only Befriending Service in the country to have a quality award and are passionate about ensuring quality across Befriending Services.

Moynihan concluded, “This Friendship Week, we implore older people who are feeling isolated to reach out to Befriending Network Ireland or someone in their own community for help. We’re also asking the public to set aside 10 minutes to call in on any older persons they think may benefit from seeing a friendly face. It could be the highlight of someone’s week.”

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. To make a donation and help aid ALONE’s work visit www.alone.ie

ALONE – The provision of quality home care packages for older people is a necessity

ALONE, the charity that supports older people to age at home, is calling on the government to make homecare a legal right, ensuring that all older people are supported to age in the community.

Sean Moynihan, CEO of ALONE, commented, “The principle of ageing at home, and having the right and ability to do so, has been government policy since the 1970s. It has cross-party support, it’s in the programme for government and it was in every political party’s 2016 general election manifesto.Despite the stated intention to support people staying in their homes, there is no legal right to home care in Ireland. In the Fair Deal Scheme if you are assessed for a nursing home place and deemed to qualify, the state is legally obliged to ensure you get a bed. If you are assessed for home care, it may be decided that you need eight hours a week but you will only get whatever the resources will allow which could be 2 hours a week.”

Repeated studies have demonstrated that ageing at home is the first choice of older people and their families. A 2016 study found that over 50% of older people awaiting, or sent to, long term care (nursing homes) from hospital wished to remain at home and could have done so. Home help hours are proven to be a much more cost effective and person-centred way of supporting people with medium support needs to age at home rather than moving them into the nursing home system.

Fine Gael’s 2016 manifesto promised 12.6 million annual home help hours. However, in reality this figure was at less than 10.5 million hours. Therefore, there was no increase on 2015 figures. Overall, approximately 1.3 million home help hours have been cut since 2010. In that time, the number of older people in the state has increased by 18%.

ALONE believes that investing in home care packages is a major part of solving the hospital trolley crisis and overcrowding in emergency departments, as older people are being forced to remain in acute hospital beds due to lack of supports to go home.

Moynihan commented, “Older people made up 81% of all delayed discharges in the most recent figures from the HSE (August 2016). Delayed discharge is linked to a lack of access to long term care facilities and organisation of community supports. The older person may be medically ready to leave the hospital but are unable to as the necessary care, support or accommodation is not readily available. A home care package would only cost around €400 a week while keeping an older person in hospital, taking up an acute bed, can cost up to €7,000 a week.”

Moynihan concluded, “Nursing Homes play a key role in the care of the very old with high support needs. However, with Ireland’s older population set to reach 1.4 million over the next 30 years, the state’s statutory obligation to provide long-term residential care must be extended to community care. The provision of quality home care packages for older people is a necessity.”

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

Dublin, 6th December 2016  ALONE, the charity that supports older people to age at home, has today launched a video showing the positive impact of befriending for older people. In the video a number of older people, who avail of ALONE’s Befriending Service, thank their volunteers who have made a huge difference to their lives.

 

Check out ALONE’s Thank You Video here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQzblWU0qxw

 

In Ireland, one third of older people live alone. ALONE’s Befriending Services provides companionship to over 500 older people who are socially isolated through a weekly volunteer visit as well as a range of social events. ALONE are continually developing the service to ensure that all older people who require it will have access to a quality assured befriending service.

 

Sean Moynihan, CEO of ALONE, commented, “We have created this video to thank the hundreds of volunteers in ALONE who offer the Befriending Service to older people every week. This video shows what a difference a little friendship that make to the lives of older people who are living alone – their volunteers have become close friends and are a lifeline to them in times of need.”

 

He continued, “As an organisation that works with older people, we interact first hand with the effects of loneliness every day. I don’t think that people are aware just how devastating loneliness can be for your general health. Not only can loneliness lead to depression, but it is also a predictor for dementia, cardiovascular disease and decreased immune system responsivity. Loneliness is twice as dangerous to the health of an older person as obesity, and is as damaging as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.”

 

He concluded, “ALONE’s Befriending Service is a preventative health measure. We receive no day-to-day government funding for our services so we depend on donations. We hope that this video encourages the general public to offer their help and support to older people by donating to ALONE this Christmas.”

 

At Christmas, ALONE’s activities include; the organisation of 500 volunteers who visit older people each week, a Christmas dinner dance for older people and volunteers, the delivery of 500 Christmas hampers to older people in need and a special Christmas Day dinner delivery for 100 older people.

 

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

ALONE – Show an older person you care this Christmas

Dublin, 23rd November 2016 ALONE, the charity that supports older people to age at home, today launched their Christmas campaign highlighting the isolation and loneliness of older people around Christmastime. At the launch of the campaign Anne Doyle, one of Ireland’s best loved broadcasters, urged members of the public to reach out to the older members of their community this Christmas and offer support to those who are living alone.

 

Anne Doyle commented at the launch, “I have been an admirer of the work of ALONE for many years and I am delighted to help them launch their Christmas campaign this year. Loneliness and isolation can be real problems for older people and it’s important that we are all aware of this.”

 

She continued “Today, with our hectic lifestyles, many of us know little or nothing about our neighbours. ALONE are asking people to check on their older neighbours, they may need something, even if it’s only your company and your time. If an older person knows someone is looking out for them it gives them an enormous sense of security and comfort. This Christmas let’s show them someone cares.”

 

As part of this year’s Christmas Campaign, ALONE is also urging older people not to be afraid to ask for the care and support they deserve and are entitled to.

 

Sean Moynihan, CEO of ALONE said, “ALONE’s Christmas Campaign this year is not just about charity, it’s about rights. Older people not only deserve to live with dignity but they have a right to. We want them to know that they have a right to be supported, to receive the care they need and to live in a place of their own choosing.”

 

He continued, “Over the winter period calls for support dramatically increase and loneliness is one of the main issues that older people face. Many older people think that by asking for help and support they are bothering people. We want them to know that they deserve more than a little help and support and they shouldn’t be afraid to ask for it. For those who may feel that they have no one to ask for help, ALONE offers supports and services that can link older people back in with their community and neighbours.”

 

ALONE say that there are a number of ways that the public can help an older person this Christmas some of these are; calling by an older persons house to say hello, ensuring they have enough food, medication and heat, bringing them out for a drive or to a social event and giving them a hand with their shopping.

 

At Christmas, ALONE’s activities include; the organisation of 300 volunteers who visit older people each week, a Christmas dinner dance for older people and volunteers, the delivery of hundreds of Christmas hampers to older people in need and a special Christmas Day dinner delivery for a number of older people.

 

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

ALONE – “It is time for all charities in Ireland to get serious about quality and transparency”

Dublin, 3rd November 2016  ALONE, the charity that supports older people to age at home, has today welcomed the launch of Charities Institute Ireland, a new regulatory body for charities. The organisation, which was formed through the merger of Fundraising Ireland and the Irish Charities Tax Reform Group (ICTR), represents 180 of Ireland’s main charities including ALONE.

 

Sean Moynihan, CEO of ALONE, commented, “ALONE are delighted to welcome this new regulatory body for charities in Ireland.  We hope that this initiative will encourage other charities to get serious about quality and transparency in order to restore public trust and confidence in the sector.”

 

ALONE was the first charity in Ireland to achieve the internationally recognised Quality in Befriending Award, the second organisation to receive the ISO Quality Standard for services delivery and it has also achieved the Investing in Volunteers Quality Standard.

 

Moynihan continued, “In ALONE we take a leadership position around transparency and accountability. We have a strong ethos around how we manage money which has been donated and we respect the generosity and intention of all those who support ALONE because they share our passion to improve the lives of marginalised older people in need.”

 

Moynihan concluded, “We do none of these things because we have to but because we know them to be the right things to do. The launch of Charities Institute Ireland is a step forward for the charity sector. It is time that all charities in Ireland raised standards and the bar of trust. Charities Institute Ireland will implement transparency and accountable in all Irish charities and we believe that this is necessary to ensure the future of this sector.”

 

Established in 1977, ALONE is an independent charity that supports vulnerable older people to age at home.  They work with those who have issues with social isolation, lack of services, poor health, poverty, homelessness or housing.  ALONE provides Supportive Coordination, Befriending, Supportive Housing and Campaigning services to hundreds of older people every week.  They receive no Government funding for their day-to-day activities so rely solely on the generosity of the public to continue their work.  ALONE’s services are quality approved and are delivered 365 days a year.

 

ALONE have received the following internationally recognised awards for their services:

  • ISO Quality Standard for services delivery.
  • Investing in Volunteers Quality Standard
  • Quality in Befriending Award

 

For more information on ALONE’s work and the charity’s external and internal audits visit www.alone.ie.

ALONE call on the general public to be mindful of their older neighbours this Halloween

ALONE, the charity that supports older people to age at home, is asking people to be mindful of vulnerable older people over the Halloween period. For many older people Halloween can be a distressing time with people calling to the door or setting off bangers and fireworks.

 

ALONE are asking parents, who may be out with children trick-or-treating, to keep an eye on their older neighbours. While many older people may welcome trick or treaters and want to engage in the fun of Halloween while others may not like to answer calls to their homes after dark. What a young person may consider to be harmless fun can be very frightening to someone who already feels vulnerable. Children and teenagers should be reminded not to disturb and upset people who may be fearful.

 

Seán Moynihan, CEO of ALONE commented “We are urging the public to keep an eye on their older neighbours, particularly those who may be living alone, and to consider their needs this Halloween.  We are not asking people to curtail their festive fun, but we are appealing for them to be aware of the older people in their community and to have some consideration for the effect Halloween activities may have on them.”

 

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

ALONE launches Ireland’s first contactless collection boxes

ALONE, the charity that supports older people to age at home, today launched Ireland’s first contactless collection boxes for the Christmas period. The boxes will be in The Butler’s Pantry’s ten shops from the end of November until January 2017.  Ireland’s most famous duo Jedward joined today’s launch and called on the public to ‘tap to give’ and support older people this Christmas.

Sean Moynihan, CEO of ALONE, commented, “We have partnered with All Points Payments and The Butler’s Pantry to be the first charity to roll out contactless collection boxes in Ireland. The initiative is designed to allow people who do not carry cash to give money, even when they have no coins to throw into a traditional collection bucket. It is the latest sign of how Ireland is moving towards becoming a ‘cashless’ society. Donating just €2 when you are picking up your coffees helps us to continue to provide services to older people nationwide.”

Jacquie Marsh, Managing Director The Butlers Pantry, commented at the launch, “We are delighted to work with ALONE, to create awareness for their great work in supporting older people to age with dignity at home.  We have a really good feeling about the new ‘tap and give’ facility, it is quick, customer friendly and allows us engage with our customers about ALONE. Win Win all the way!”

ALONE are continually developing new and innovative technology to meet the needs of their service users. As well as launching the contactless donation boxes, the charity are researching and developing new technologies that will assist older people to age at home. ALONE has been shortlisted as one of 11 finalists in THINKTECH’s social innovation fund, a €1 million project to grow ideas for a better Ireland today.

Moynihan concluded, “As we approach the festive season, it is important to remember that Christmas can be a particularly isolating time for older people who are living alone. We are calling on the general public to contribute to the issue not only by donating money but also by thinking of older people in your locality and visiting them over the Christmas period.”

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. To make a donation and help aid ALONE’s work this Christmastime visit www.alone.ie

 

ALONE – Increase in state pension cannot compensate for lack of community services and supports

 ALONE has welcomed the increase to the state pension, announced as part of Budget 2017, but stated that the government needs to do more to support older people in the community.

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.”

ALONE’s pre-budget submission called for an increase in home help hours in line with demand to ensure that older people are supported to age in the community.

Moynihan commented, “An additional €10m in new development funding for homecare has been announced.  However, this still does not bring us back to the levels of funding in 2008. The number of home help hours has been cut by 1.28 million since 2010 and, in that time, the number of older people in the state has increased by 18%. Even if the funding for older peoples services is returned to 2008 levels, services will still be underfunded because of this demographic change.”

“What is of value to older people is community supports and services such as housing, home care and adequate transport options. An extra fiver in their pockets is of little value if you need services. With homecare packages falling short of need, many older people are topping up publicly provided homecare with private homecare.”

He continued, “There has been cross party support for ageing in the community but we need investment in services on a much larger scale than this Budget is offering.  With our ageing demographic, supporting older people to age at home must be a priority for every government.”

In response to the €5 reduction in the maximum fee that over-70’s pay for medicine, Moynihan commented, “This reduction is a move in the right direction as the introduction of the €2.50 prescription charge over the last number of years has had serious health implications for older people. ALONE has witnessed the struggle of older people who have had to prioritise certain medicines as they cannot afford their entire prescription.”

Moynihan concluded “We need to keep planning and looking long term every year, as Ireland’s older population is set to reach 1.4m over the next 30 years. ALONE believes that it is vitally important to restore services and supports in the community as these are of equal value, if not more valuable, to older people than an increase in the state pension.”

ALONE call on the general public to be mindful of older people in their communities

ALONE is urging older people who may be feeling lonely or isolated not to be afraid to ask for the help and support they need and deserve. The charity’s comments follow the tragic death of two older brothers in Bluebell, West Dublin.

Sean Moynihan, CEO of ALONE said, “We are asking all older people not to be afraid to ask for help I they are feeling isolated or lonely.  It is very easy to become cut off from your community. However, there are supports and services available that can help link you back in with your community.”

He continued, “ALONE’s Befriending Services provides companionship to older people who are socially isolated through a weekly volunteer visit as well as a range of social events. We are continually developing the service to ensure that all older people who require it will have access to a quality assured befriending service. ALONE also work to help older people address the practical problems that can sometimes stop them from ageing well in the community. Our staff support older people with many issues including health, mobility, housing, grants and accessing services.”

Moynihan concluded, “As an organisation that works with vulnerable older people, we interact first hand with the effects of loneliness every day. I don’t think that people are aware just how devastating loneliness can be for your general health. Not only can loneliness lead to depression, but it is also a predictor for dementia, cardiovascular disease and decreased immune system responsivity. Loneliness is twice as dangerous to the health of an older person as obesity, and is as damaging as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.”

ALONE is also calling on all members of the public to check in with their older neighbours who may be living alone and to consider their needs.

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

ALONE – Befriending is a vital health service for older people

Charity highlights the importance of Befriending this International Day of Older People

 1st October 2016, Dublin  This International Day of Older people on October 1st, ALONE is highlighting the importance of Befriending services nationwide in the prevention of loneliness and related health issues.

Sean Moynihan, CEO of ALONE said, “As an organisation that works with vulnerable older people, we interact first hand with the effects of loneliness every day. I don’t think that people are aware just how devastating loneliness can be for your general health. Not only can loneliness lead to depression, but it is also a predictor for dementia, cardiovascular disease and decreased immune system responsivity. Loneliness is twice as dangerous to the health of an older person as obesity, and is as damaging as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.”

He continued “ALONE’s Befriending Services provides companionship to older people who are socially isolated through a weekly volunteer visit as well as a range of social events. We are continually developing the service to ensure that all older people who require it will have access to a quality assured befriending service. All of our volunteers are trained to a high standard, Garda vetted and they are supported by experienced mentors.”

Moynihan concluded, “We receive no day-to-day government funding for our services which provide a lifeline for thousands of vulnerable older people. Befriending is a preventative health measure and given that mental health problems have an estimated overall economic cost of €3 billion per annum, we would implore the government to take a better look at this key health service.”
ALONE are also the hosts of Befriending Networks Ireland, a national network of befriending services for vulnerable and older people. Its aims are to provide training, quality, transparency as well as a national voice for befriending. ALONE are the only Befriending service in the country to have a quality award and are passionate about ensuring quality across befriending services.

This International Day of Older people on October 1st, ALONE encourage any older person looking for a Befriending Service in their area to get in touch and call 01 679 1032. Similarly, if there are any befriending organisations looking for advice and support they can contact ALONE.