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.