COUNCIL PARTNERS WITH ALONE TO HELP OLDER PEOPLE DURING CRISIS
The organisation which supports older people is working with a number of partner organisations to align its support services for older people
Dublin, Tuesday 24th March Dublin City Council has announced a new partnership with ALONE to provide support and assistance to older people during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Along with Pobal and the Dublin City Age Friendly Alliance, these partner organisations will be working together to align with the sector, streamline requests for help, and ensure that vulnerable older people across the country receive the support and assistance that they need.
ALONE currently operates a national support line for older people that was set up in collaboration with the HSE and the Department of Health. The line is active from 8am to 8pm seven days a week, and has received more than 3,300 calls to date.
Commenting on the partnership the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Tom Brabazon, stated “While we find ourselves in an unprecedented situation with the COVID-19 pandemic, it is vital that we look after the members of society who are most at risk. The reality for a lot of elderly people in this situation is that they are too scared to go outside in case they come into contact with a carrier of the disease and fall ill with the virus. By working together, we can ensure that when these older people call the support line they are given the advice and help that they need by a trained staff member.”
The support line is to be a single point of contact from which all requests can be assessed and processed appropriately. This will be achieved by bringing together An Garda Síochána, community partners, volunteers and Dublin City Council to provide a national response and create a model that other groups and local authorities can replicate. The organisations will work together to ensure that all staff and volunteers providing supports are fully trained and Garda vetted, and adhere to best practice guidelines for dealing with older people. The group will also work towards developing long term relationships in the event of other crises in the future and to main a link with the older people in our community.
Seán Moynihan, CEO of ALONE, said, “The main requests that our phone operators are getting at the moment are for information and daily contact but as we move to the next phase there is increasing demand for deliveries of food, medication and fuel, which are things that most people take for granted. We hope that this partnership will enable us to increase the levels of support that we already offer to older people across the country, who may be feeling scared or isolated due to the necessary health restrictions imposed to stop the spread of Coronavirus. We are already working with multiple partners and going forward we will involve other organisations to help address health and wellbeing issues.”
ALONE are working to add other local authorities to this partnership. Several other County Councils have indicated their interest and it is hoped that this partnership can provide a model of how the community and voluntary sector can work together with the local authorities throughout this crisis.
Beatrice Casserly who heads up the Dublin City Age Friendly Programme added, “Many older people are self-isolating as a precautionary measure to avoid contracting Coronavirus, however this can make everyday tasks such as grocery shopping or collecting prescriptions impossible. With the introduction of a streamlined support service, we can ensure that these people are looked after
when they most need it. Until the curve has been flattened and it is safe for normal life to resume, our organisations will work together to protect the vulnerable members of our community.”
Assistant Commissioner Orla McPartlin, An Garda Síochána stated, “An Garda Síochána is pleased to support this worthwhile initiative between ALONE and Dublin City Council by providing as much support as possible during these challenging times. I wish to reaffirm the public commitment made by Deputy Commissioner John Twomey on behalf of An Garda Síochána to support the most vulnerable in our society, particularly our elderly and isolated. An Garda Síochána has always worked closely with our communities and we continue to do so in these extraordinary times. We look forward to the continued collaborative efforts with local authorities and community groups such as Alone and others.”