ALONE call on public to remember older people affected by emigration this St. Patricks Day
This St. Patrick’s Day, ALONE is highlighting one of the lesser known effects of emigration. ALONE report an increase in the number of older people requiring their services as a direct result of their children and grandchildren emigrating.
The number of Irish people leaving Ireland remains high, despite improvements in the economy and a fall in unemployment. Emigration is not a new phenomenon and every generation that moves on leave a generation behind, however ALONE report that the full impact of the mass emigration from Ireland in recent years has not yet been realised and they caution that we will continue to see the negative effects on our society and older people long into the future.
A report published by the Institute of Public Health in Ireland last week showed that 10% of older people suffer from chronic loneliness, adding to the growing evidence that loneliness has a serious impact on health and, in particular, the health of older people. Older people who are isolated don’t always have the capacity to engage in community activities and stay involved and without outside assistance issues like lack of transport or decreased physical mobility can cause them to remain in their home.
Sean Moynihan, Chief Executive Officer of ALONE said, “Loneliness is a real health issue, it’s as damaging to health as smoking and obesity. At ALONE we strive to keep older people living within the community by stepping in and providing supports where they are needed”.
Moynihan continued, “ALONE’s Befriending Services provide companionship to older people who are socially isolated through a weekly volunteer visit. We believe that befriending should complement mainstream health services and is vital to helping people remain independent in their own homes. Every day, we witness how our Befriending Service makes a positive impact on both the older people and the volunteers.”
ALONE also host Befriending Network’s Ireland a network of over 40 Befriending organisations from around the country.
This St Patrick’s Day ALONE are asking emigrants to remember older people left at home who may be feeling isolated. If you are concerned for someone back home in Ireland you can contact ALONE on 01 679 1032 and we can offer support, or link them in with relevant services in their own county.