ALONE responds to formation of Government with a series of asks for older people

The organisation has responded to the finalised Programme for Government, addressing issues which will affect the long-term health and wellbeing of older people.

Dublin, 29 June 2020:  ALONE, the organisation which supports older people, has responded to the finalised Programme for Government, highlighting a number of issues which have caused concern. The organisation has previously put forward four asks for the incoming government, and believes that these issues must be addressed to improve the quality of life for many older people.

ALONE have expressed their disappointment that there isn’t a Senior Minister for Older People and Demographic Change. But hope that when the Ministers for State are appointed that there is a minister exclusively for Minister for Older People and Demographic Change. The organisation also feels that the brief of older people has been very much relegated to the back.

The organisation also raised concerns about the lack of reference to the implementation of the principles of National Positive Ageing Strategy. The Government formation documents made no mention of implementing the strategy, or appointing a leader to the strategy, which is something that must change.

While ALONE were supportive of the commitments in housing options for older people, commitments to home care and a commitment for the Commission on Care, the organisation would like to see clearer timelines and commitment to funding. We hope that there will be no further delay in the implementation of Sláintecare while ensuring the Statutory Home Scheme is implemented without any delay. ALONE are concerned regarding the government’s commitment towards improving the health of older people.

ALONE CEO, Seán Moynihan said, “We need to work towards a social recovery alongside the economic recovery, now is the time where we need to implement all the commitments in the health and social care area that are in the Programme for Government. In the past, commitments of support and help within the community have not been delivered to the levels promised or agreed. We had also hoped that the incoming Government would appoint a Minister exclusively for Older People and Demographic Change, which also would have made a huge difference to the lives of older people across the country.”

He continued, “The COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted ongoing issues that older people experience on a daily basis, which affect their quality of life. This pandemic has presented us with an opportunity to re-examine the policies in place, to work towards change and to this opportunity to reassess the way we deal with issued faced by older people.”

Since March, ALONE’s Support Line has received in excess of 25,291 calls for support. ALONE staff and volunteers have made more than 119,079 calls to older people who needed support, and provided more than 2,899 units of practical support, including collecting groceries and prescriptions. ALONE is providing ongoing support to more than 13,094 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.