ALONE encourages older people to exercise their own judgement and in their best interest when it comes to gatherings this Christmas

The organisation have reported many older people expressing concerns about social interactions this Christmas

Dublin, 11 December 2020   ALONE, the organisation that supports older people to age at home, is asking members of the public to be mindful of older people’s concerns, while also respecting their choices, especially if they are apprehensive about seeing friends or relatives over the festive period.

Reports from ALONE’s National Support line and through their Winter check-in calls, suggest that many older people have increased concerns about the usual social activities surrounding the Christmas season. Older people do not want to put themselves at risk and are worried about meeting up with family over the Christmas period. Some have even reported that they are feeling obliged to do so to avoid upsetting family members. Traditionally, where many older people would’ve travelled far and wide to spend the Christmas period with their families, they are choosing to exercise caution and spend the holiday season alone to protect themselves.

ALONE are asking that members of the public respect older people’s wishes when it comes to receiving visitors into their homes and to respect their space when meeting up over the holiday season. ALONE is encouraging members of the public to protect older people in their communities this Christmas by respecting their wishes surrounding plans around Christmas Day and any concerns they may have around COVID-19.

ALONE understands that this has been a challenging year for many older people who have had to make sacrifices to protect themselves from the virus, while the organisation has also noted that older people are among groups considered to be at a high risk for COVID-19.

Sean Moynihan, CEO of ALONE, commented, “We understand that this has been a difficult year for older people across the country who have had to take extra precautions to protect themseleves from the virus. We are asking members of the public to consider the older people in their lives by respecting any concerns they may have surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, and not pressuring them to attend social gatherings where they may feel anxious or uncomfortable. It’s natural to want to see all of our friends and family at Christmas, but this year things are different, and we will all need to make some changes to safeguard the health and wellbeing of the older people in our lives.”

The organisation are also encouraging older people to stay within a safe ‘bubble’ this Christmas, and to keep in touch via phone calls and socially distant visits to minimise the risk of contracting COVID-19.

He continued, “In order to minimise an older person’s chances of coming into contact with a carrier of the virus, we are advising older people to socialise safely within a small group this Christmas and to keep in contact with family and friends via phone where possible. We hope that communities will come together to reach out to older people in need of support or assistance, and, if they need it, to encourage them to pick up the phone and get in touch with ALONE.”

ALONE recently launched their Christmas Campaign, which encourages members of the public to Give a Helping Hand to the older people in their lives this Christmas. There are a number of ways you can safely support older people this winter, by checking in with older neighbours, friends and relatives to ensure they are warm and have enough fuel to keep the house at a comfortable temperature, or ensuring that on very cold, Winter days that older people in your life have enough supplies in the home to deter them from going out in dangerous conditions.

As Christmas draws nearer, the organisation are asking members of the community to check in with the older person in their lives to ensure they have everything they need and if they don’t, link them in with ALONE.

Contact ALONE if you have concerns about your own wellbeing, or the wellbeing of an older person you know. Their National Support Line is available seven days a week from 8am – 8pm on 0818 222 024. Further information can be found on www.alone.ie.