The organisation has addressed issues relating to the long-term health and wellbeing of older people in a new guidance document.
Dublin, 18 June 2020: ALONE, the organisation which supports older people, has released a Health and Wellbeing plan, addressing key issues which continue to affect the health and wellbeing of older people across the country as we move into the later stages of the COVID-19 Roadmap.
The initiative came about as part of ALONE’s response to COVID-19; however it is also part of the organisation’s long term plan to integrate Health and Wellbeing into the Social Prescribing model and to provide national and local responses to Health and Wellbeing for Older People. The plan is made up of a series of projects which promote social interaction, activities, fitness and positive mental and physical health practices for older people.
The organisation is concerned that older people may lack the confidence to reintegrate themselves into society in the coming weeks and months due to fears of contracting the virus. ALONE’s National Support Line has received a number of calls from older people who say that they do not feel confident going outside, as they are anxious that people have become more relaxed about adhering to safety measures such as social distancing guidelines, hand hygiene and cough and sneeze etiquette.
Corrinne Hasson, Services Manager at ALONE, has been working on the organisation’s Support Line answering calls from older people, and has noticed an increase in the number of older people calling to for advice and support during this time.
Hasson stated ““While we welcomed the further relaxing of cocooning measures for older people, we are receiving a lot of calls to our Support Line from individuals who are concerned about reintegrating into society as they are concerned that they will come into contact with a carrier of the virus. Many callers stated that they would feel nervous leaving the house over the coming weeks, as they worry that they aren’t getting enough space while walking as people are not adhering to social distancing measures. We are encouraging members of the public to continue to observe a safe distance from others while out and about so that we can all begin to readjust to the new circumstances.”
Since the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic in Ireland, a number of measures have been introduced to protect vulnerable individuals, including designated hours for older and vulnerable people in supermarkets, parks and other public places. ALONE are reminding the general public to continue to respect these hours and to avoid visiting public spaces during the times set aside for older and medically vulnerable people.
Hasson continued, “We have also received an increased number of calls from older people who are afraid to visit their local park or supermarket, as they are anxious that it will be too busy and they could come into contact with someone carrying the virus. We ask that members of the public respect these older people and to refrain from visiting public spaces during the specified times set aside for older people.”
ALONE CEO Seán Moynihan stated, “Even though most people are now going back to their normal lives, certain groups of individuals such as older people are still very worried about the virus and what will happen to them if they are exposed to a carrier of the virus. To try and deal with this we are giving older people practical advice on how to stay safe as they reintegrate into society, and supporting them with any worries or concerns that they may have. Our new Health and Wellbeing plan will address some of the main issues faced by older people and introduce support services such as telephone communications, regular text messages, activity packs and virtual classes and events. These services will help to improve the health and wellbeing of thousands of older people across Ireland.”
ALONE are also have also reminded older people that their services are to be available to any older person who needs advice or support during this time.
“I would like to remind any older person that is struggling at the moment that supports are available to them through ALONE and Local Authorities across the country. If you are struggling at all over the coming weeks and months, please do not hesitate to reach out and seek help.” said Moynihan.
Since March, ALONE’s Support Line has received in excess of 24,529 calls for support. ALONE staff and volunteers have made more than 110,948 calls to older people who needed support, and provided more than 16,500 units of practical support, including collecting groceries and prescriptions. ALONE is providing ongoing support to more than 12,868 older people who require support for difficulties with loneliness, health, finance, housing, accessing services, COVID-19 and other challenges.
ALONE is encouraging older people who need advice to call ALONE on, 0818 222 024 from 8am-8pm, seven days a week. Contact ALONE on 0818 222 024 if you have concerns about your own wellbeing, or the wellbeing of an older person you know. Further information can be found on www.alone.ie.