ALONE: “The solution to loneliness lies in community supports and services”
ALONE responds to appointment of Minister for Loneliness in Britain.
Dublin, 19th January 2018 Following Britain’s appointment of a ‘Minister for Loneliness’ this week, ALONE, the charity that supports older people to age at home, has said that the solution to loneliness lies in scalable and collaborative community supports and services.
Sean Moynihan, CEO of ALONE, commented, “As an organisation that works with older people, we see firsthand the effects of loneliness. 1 in 10 older people suffer from chronic loneliness and I don’t think that people are aware just how devastating loneliness can be for your general health. As we enter the winter, calls for support dramatically increase and loneliness is one of the main issues that older people in Ireland are facing today.”
He continued, “While we welcome a renewed focus on how to address loneliness and social isolation, we believe the answer lies in continued collaboration between the community and voluntary sector and statutory bodies to address this important issue and not necessarily the creation of a new ministerial position. By working closely together, we can provide services that help people who are experiencing loneliness.”
ALONE’s Befriending Service provides companionship to older people who are socially isolated or experiencing through a weekly volunteer visit as well as a range of social events. In 2016, 4,500 people were supported by befriending services nationwide, an increase of 42%. The charity aims to grow the Befriending service from 600 to 10,000 volunteers in next 5 years.
ALONE also provides Supportive Coordination services to older people and was recently awarded the overall HSE Excellence Award for its innovative Support Coordination hub development for older people in Dublin North city and county.
The ‘Innovative Support Coordination for Older Persons’ is a joint project between ALONE and the HSE which aims to keep older people living well at home for as long as possible. By co-ordinating and organising services for older people who might need some extra support to continue living at home or some practical help to return home from hospital, the two organisations have, to date, supported over 700 older people in Dublin North city and county. The plan is to develop and grow this service nationwide, and by 2022, the service will support 20,000 older people directly and 14,000 indirectly.
Established in 1977, ALONE is an independent charity that supports vulnerable older people to age at home. We work with those who have issues with social isolation, lack of services, poor health, poverty, homelessness or housing. We provide Supportive Coordination, Befriending, Supportive Housing and Campaigning services to hundreds of older people every week. We receive no Government funding for our day-to-day activities so we rely solely on the generosity of the public to continue our work. ALONE’s services are quality approved and are delivered 365 days a year.