15,000 older people supported by ALONE in 2020

ALONE have released their 2020 Annual Report, ‘The Story of Resilience, Dedication and Commitment’

Dublin, 27 September 2021   ALONE, the organisation that supports older people to age at home, launched its Annual Report, ‘The Story of Resilience, Dedication and Commitment’, demonstrating growth of 174% in the number of older people receiving ongoing support from ALONE over a twelve-month period. Those seeking and who received support increased from 5,410 in 2019 to around 15,000 in 2020. ALONE operated all services 365 days of the year in 2020 and are now concentrating on growth to ensure sustainability of service.

ALONE worked across three Government Departments and with countless other agencies “in the true spirit of cooperation”. The organisation’s National Support and Referral Line created direct access to ALONE’s integrated service model. This line provided access to services, advice and information while some examples of their key achievements in numbers are receiving almost 42,000 calls in 2020; receiving 1,100 calls in one day at its peak. Nearly 139,000 calls were placed to older people from ALONE staff and volunteers.

ALONE entered the COVID-19 pandemic with 2,000 volunteers increasing this figure to 3,000 by the end of 2020.

The organisation saw a 700% increase to Telephone Support & Befriending services. While almost 800 new older people were linked into ALONE’s Support and Befriending service. These vital calls not only alleviated loneliness and isolation in an older person’s life it also provided them with health information, appointment and medication reminders and gave them information, support and encouragement to get through COVID-19.

ALONE’s innovation in technology enabled them to support thousands of older people to live independently at home. Assistive technology provides older people with security and support to self-manage and share information on health and well-being with family and health professionals. Older people were supported with Smartphones, Tablets, Pendant Alarms and smart home sensors throughout Ireland

ALONE CEO Seán Moynihan stated, “ALONE decided to stand up and be counted, the strength and courage to do this comes from our culture. Our culture and history, informs our movements and keeps us grounded to our purpose. Our reason to exist as an NGO is to be there when you are needed most. 2020 was the year our sector and the community showed our value.”

He continued, “Our focus remains with older people and we always ensure to respond in line with our vision, mission, values and our strategy. We will now turn our focus to growth and quality of service so we can continue to support and empower as many older people as possible across Ireland.”

Joe Sheehy, Chairperson of ALONE’s Board of Trustees, stated, “ALONE has grown significantly in 2020 and is likely to continue to do so in 2021, benefiting greater numbers of older people throughout Ireland. We have achieved great things as an organisation during the past year and most importantly we have reached more older people than ever before in 2020. We remain committed to investment in technology for older people to assist in aging at home and also in driving Housing with Supports as a key pillar for delivery.”

ALONE dedicated pages in their Annual Report to remembering all of those lost and they thank everyone that has supported and worked with them, stating, “We now need to take the learning and ensure protection and security for this cohort now and into the future.”

Read the full Annual Report here.

‘In no uncertain terms will a €5 increase in the State Pension be acceptable’

ALONE says Budget 2022 must deliver on commitment made by government at setting the State Pension at 34% of average earnings

Dublin, 17th September: ALONE, the charity that supports older people to age at home, has today responded to recent publications from the Department of Finance regarding the State Pension with disappointment. The organisation disagrees with claims that keeping the state pension at 66 years of age is unaffordable, and said that limiting the increase in the state pension to €5 is ‘unacceptable’.

Published this week, the Department of Finance released the Tax Strategy Group papers, which proposed a €5 increase in the State Pension. In addition, the Department of Finance also published this week the ‘Population Ageing and the Public Finances in Ireland’ report, which suggests linking the State Pension age to life expectancy to reduce ‘cost burden’.

Responding to the publication, CEO of ALONE Seán Moynihan commented: “As an organisation we are still reflecting on the publications from the Department of Finance, however, initially we are disappointed at some of their proposals, particularly on linking the pension age to life expectancy and the proposed €5 increase to the State Pension.

“We do not believe that the pension age should be increased again and believe that this is a sustainable position. As highlighted by the Department of Finance, pension expenditure is set to increase from 7.4 per cent of GNI* in 2019 to 12.3 per cent in 2070, while age-related expenditure at the other end of the life-cycle, such as education, are set to decrease. Thus, adequate planning and provision would allow Ireland to avoid increasing its pension age.”

He continued, “Linking the pension age to life expectancy is also an unfair approach, it does not take into consideration the impact of labour-intensive jobs, such as construction, have on a person’s quality of life in older age. Working into our late 60s and beyond should be an option not an obligation.

“ALONE is also disappointed regarding the proposed €5 increase in the State Pension. We must make this clear to government: in no uncertain terms, will a €5 increase in the State Pension be acceptable. The State Pension must be increased by €10 or more to deliver on commitments in the Programme for Government on setting the pension at 34% of average weekly earnings.

“Lastly, there has been an unpleasant rhetoric when discussing the State Pension in recent months. Words like ‘burden’ are unhelpful, demeaning and hurtful. Older people are not a burden. They deserve more than a tokenistic €5 here and there. With an ageing population, there are both challenges and opportunities and we must plan and make provisions for the increase in the ageing population.

“Older people deserve respect. Older people deserve dignity. Older people deserve a decent income. Older people deserve this and more,” Moynihan concluded.

As part of ALONE’s Budget 2022 submission, the organisation has made the following recommendations on the State Pension:

  • Keep the pension age at 66
  • Increase the State Pension by €10.50 per year over the next five years, triple-lock and benchmarking
  • Introduce legislation to implement the Total Contributions Approach

ALONE’s Budget 2022 submission can be found here.

‘Fuel Allowance accounted for with fees, taxes and increased charges’, says ALONE

The organisation also highlights energy supplier increases of up to nearly €500 this year

Dublin, 13th September 2021: ALONE, the organisation that supports older people to age at home, today called on government to extend the Fuel Allowance season to 32-weeks and increase the payment by €4 per week. The organisation’s call comes against the backdrop of dramatic increases in fuel prices over 2021, placing many older people at greater risk of fuel poverty.

As it now stands, 65% of the current Fuel Allowance will be spent by an individual in order to cover increased charges and growing Carbon Tax figures. The organisation has highlighted that a number of energy suppliers have increased their prices over 2021, with some suppliers increasing prices four times throughout the year. The highest increase to the average annual electricity bill was nearly €495 and the highest increase to the average gas bill was over €301.

Budget 2022 will also see the Carbon Tax increase again by €7.50 per tonne. With the average household set to accumulate carbon charges of €92.94 (additional €17)[1] next year, the Fuel Allowance will dwindle to €272 remaining.

The organisation also highlighted home energy efficiency as an area government must improve to reduce fuel poverty. According to the last Census, many older people are living in poorly energy efficient homes, with nearly 70 per cent of over 75s living in homes with a Building Energy Rating (BER) of D – G.

CEO of ALONE Seán Moynihan commented: “Older people are one of the highest at risk groups of fuel poverty, with many relying on the State Pension as their main source of income, which is below the poverty line. Nearly 3,000 deaths are related to fuel poverty on the island of Ireland over the winter months, the highest in Europe[2], older people make up the bulk of these deaths.

“ALONE is calling for the Fuel Allowance season to be extended by 32-weeks and for the payment to be increased by €4 per week. This will help minimise the impact of the Carbon Tax and energy supplier increase on households in fuel poverty.

“Government must also ensure that households in fuel poverty are prioritised a part of the retrofitting programme and are provided with additional support to upgrade the energy efficiency of their homes.”

The organisation has also called for a new anti-fuel poverty strategy, that provides actions to address energy price increases, the impact of climate change on households in fuel poverty and the need to improve home energy efficiency of these households.

Mr Moynihan continued: “The government’s previous fuel poverty strategy, ‘A Strategy to Combat Energy Poverty 2016 – 2019’, is now two years out of date and recent energy price increases call for a new urgent and comprehensive strategy as part of a Just Transition. We note that the government is conducting a review of the 2016 strategy.

“This new strategy must provide immediate actions that address the frequent energy price increases households have experienced, the impact of climate change on households in fuel poverty and the need to improve energy efficiency of these households. In a climate emergency, we need to ensure that there is a Just Transition. We cannot leave anyone behind.”


[1] https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates/question/2021-05-13/216/

[2] McAvoy, Helen, ‘All-Ireland policy paper on fuel poverty and health’, Irish Public Health Centre (December 2007)

ALONE strongly oppose reported pension age increase recommendation from the Commission on Pensions

ALONE is disappointed to learn of the reports that the Commission on Pensions is to recommend gradually increasing the pension age from 2028 to 2031. The organisation states, ‘working into our late 60s and beyond should be an option, not an obligation, particularly for older works engaged in labour-intensive work.’

CEO Seán Moynihan commented, “We do not agree that the pension age should be increased and believe that keeping the pension at 66 is sustainable.

“We are aware of the arguments brought forward by proponents of pension age increase, maintaining that the current pension age will be financially unsustainable for the State. While pension expenditure is set to increase from 7.4 per cent of GNI* in 2019 to 12.3 per cent in 2070, age-related expenditures at the other end of the life-cycle, such as education, are set to decrease. Thus, adequate planning and provision would allow Ireland to avoid increasing its pension age.

“Proponents of pension age increases also point to an increase in quality of life, allowing for people to work longer into older age. However, this point of view fails to take into consideration the fact that 126,100 adults over 55 are living with frailty, which could impact their need to retire early and could therefore impact their ability to meet contributions for a full pension.”

As part of ALONE’s Budget 2022 submission, the organisation has made the following recommendations on the State Pension:

  • Keep the pension age at 66
  • Increase the State Pension by €10.50 per year over the next five years, triple-lock and benchmarking
  • Introduce legislation to implement the Total Contributions Approach

ALONE’s Budget 2022 submission can be found here.

ALONE calls for Budget 2022 to be the budget that finally supports older people now and in the future

Dublin, 7th September 2021: ALONE, the organisation that supports older people to age safely and securely at home, has today launched its Budget 2022 submission, ‘Future-proofing Ireland for Older People’. The organisation has put forward a number of recommendations across social protection, housing, health and loneliness that aims to support Ireland’s current and future older demographic.

Ireland’s over 65 population is expected to reach nearly 1 million by 2031, with ALONE stating increased investment is needed across health, social protection and housing in the long-term. The organisation has highlighted that a lack of investment is negatively impacting quality of life for an ageing demographic.

Speaking on ALONE’s Budget 2022 submission, CEO Seán Moynihan commented; “ALONE has put forward a number of measures that we believe puts in place the necessary supports and plans for an ageing demographic. We believe that Budget 2022 should be the budget that lifts older people above the poverty line, addresses current and future housing needs and supports older people to age in place.

“We know that the recommendations proposed by ALONE are not possible without investment, but these measures are necessary and will save the state in the long-term.

“We believe that Budget 2022 presents an opportunity. It is an opportunity to support ageing. Older people deserve the choice to age at home. Older people deserve a State Pension that provides an income above the poverty line. Older people deserve the right to home care. Older people deserve this much and more.”

ALONE’sBudget 2022 submission recommendations include;

  • Increase the State Pension by €10.50, triple-lock and implement benchmarking. An older person on the Contributory State Pension is €38.18 below the poverty line. ALONE believe that the State Pension should be triple-locked at 35% of average weekly earnings, 2.5% annually, or the rate of inflation, whichever is greater. Triple-locking the State Pension will not only help to ensure that older people can receive an adequate income, but also protects pensions when average earnings drop. There is a commitment to setting the State Pension at 34/35% of average weekly earnings in the Roadmap for Pensions Reform 2018 – 2023 and benchmarking pension payments in the Roadmap for Social Inclusion 2020 – 2025.
  • Set the Fuel Allowance season to 32-weeks and increase by €4 per week to minimise the impact of the Carbon Tax and energy supplier increases on households in fuel poverty. The Fuel Allowance eligibility criteria should also be reviewed.
  • Reconfigure the Telephone Support Allowance to a Telephone and Technology Support Allowance to help support older people to access digital technology. This Allowance should also be increased by €5 to €7.50.
  • An Older Person Technology Grant of €250 to help support older people to buy technology such as e-Health devices, voice enabled devices, emergency response alarms, tablets or smart phone devices and smart home sensors.
  • Introduce legislation on a statutory homecare.
  • Keep the pension age at 66.
  • Provide a path towards long-term lease agreements to ensure security of tenure. There are workarounds to perceived constitutional issues. Incentivize right-sizing. 59,462 homes are needed for older people who choose right-sizing which is key to ensuring housing is accessible to all and supports ageing in place.
  • 45,905 supportive housing units are needed through social housing. This is a housing target aligned to the changing demographics over the next 10 years, equating to 4,590 units per year.
  • €84.5 million per year over the next 10 years via the Home Adaptation Grants (through the Housing Aid for Older People Scheme) to support older people to upgrade their homes to age-friendly standards.

‘Housing for All must deliver for ageing demographic’, says ALONE

ALONE gauges how the new strategy compares to their nine Housing for All asks

Dublin, 2 September 2021   ALONE, the organisation that supports older people to age at home, has broadly welcomed the government’s new housing strategy, ‘Housing for All – A New Housing Plan for Ireland’, which was announced earlier today.

Commenting on Housing for All, CEO of ALONE Seán Moynihan stated, “ALONE welcomes the Housing for All strategy, and in particular the focus on older people. We need to grow and maintain support for older people to age safely and securely in their own home. ALONE are reassured with the further reference to building on the work done under the Housing Options for our Ageing Population Policy Statement.”

“The number of people aged over-65 is estimated to be in excess of 740,000 and is projected to increase to 1.6 million in 2051. We need to plan for this increase in our older population and Housing for All can do this by investing in housing options that allow older people to age in their own home.” 

The organisation believes that the housing targets announced today need to have a percentage ring-fenced for older people. ALONE estimate that at least 4,590 supportive housing units are needed through social housing per year over the next ten years to meet the needs of the ageing population. ALONE welcome plans for Local Authorities to set out how age-friendly social homes will be delivered for older people, matching the scale and extent of housing need.

Moynihan continued, “The number of people in the private rental market aged 45 – 54 has increased by 248% and by 144% among those aged 55 – 64 from 1991 to 2016, according to the latest Census and we expect this to increase further. We need to consider how will this demographic pay rent in retirement? Without sufficient housing supply across Local Authority, Approved Housing Bodies or subsidised accommodation, the sustainability of these homes on reduced post-retirement incomes is a real concern.”

“As an organisation, we welcome Housing for All and look forward to working with the Minister and his Department in delivering the actions outlined.”

ALONE encourage public to check in on older neighbours, friends and relatives as temperatures spike in the coming week

The organisation is also reminding older people to reach out for assistance if they are struggling during the heatwave

Dublin, 20 July 2021   ALONE, the organisation which supports older people, is urging older people to be careful and take necessary precautions as temperatures are set to rise this week, following separate warnings from Met Éireann, the HSE and the Department of Health, as daytime high temperatures are set to remain in the 27 to 30 degree range over coming days.

A status yellow weather warning has been issued by Met Éireann for “not unusual weather but conditions that may bring localised danger”. Older people can be more vulnerable during warmer weather conditions, and are at a greater risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, especially those living alone, those with health issues, and those with limited mobility.

The organisation is advising older people to keep cool and hydrated in the coming week, and to take regular breaks from the sun. If spending an extended period of time in the sun, ALONE has advised that older people regularly and liberally apply sunscreen, wear loose clothing, sunglasses and a hat. Older people should also keep a small drum of water in the refrigerator in the event that water pressure is significantly reduced or restricted. Fill up your kettle, pots and pans with water. If you notice a significant drop in water pressure, contact Irish Water on 1850 278 278.

ALONE is also calling on members of the public to check in on older people to ensure that they have everything they need and that they are keeping safe and cool in the heat. The organisation is asking older people who are concerned about their own wellbeing during the heatwave to call for assistance and help if needed.

Seán Moynihan, CEO of ALONE commented, “While it’s great to be able to get out and enjoy the good weather, we are reminding older people to take care and exercise caution in the heat, as this is a group which are at risk in extreme weather conditions. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke can be very harmful to over 65’s, particularly those who live alone or have existing health conditions. It is important to stay cool, drink plenty of water and to wear sunscreen and a hat when spending extended periods of time outdoors.”

He continued, “We are also calling on all members of the public to remember their older neighbours, friends and relatives living alone and to consider their needs; if there is anything you think you can help with, no matter how small, do reach out to them. It could make a world of difference to an older person during these challenging times. Finally, please continue to follow relevant public health advice to keep you and those around you safe from COVID-19.”

Contact ALONE on 0818 222 024 if you have concerns about your own wellbeing, or the wellbeing of a vulnerable older person in the community. Further information, including advice and tips for older people in extreme weather conditions, can be found on www.alone.ie .

50,000 calls received from Older People by ALONE

ALONE provides advice and support for older people, aiming to improve physical, emotional and mental wellbeing from the first point of contact

Dublin, 19th July 2021   ALONE, the organisation which supports older people, has received over 50,000 calls into their Service, which paves the way towards direct access to their integrated service model. ALONE has been supporting an increasing number of older people in need, through the COVID-19 pandemic with their National Support Line crucial in mobilising a rapid response in every county to make sure everyone is looked after. Their dedicated line acts as a gateway to their integrated service model and means that older people across the Country have one direct link for services, advice and information.

ALONE have supported 7,130 unique older people in 2021 alone, continuing to mark an increase in volume of older people seeking ongoing support. The organisation offer an integrated system of Support Coordination, Practical Supports, Befriending, a variety of Phone Services, Social Prescribing, Housing with Support and Assistive Technology. While 68% of callers to ALONE’s National Support Line are living alone, ALONE work with all older people, including those who are lonely, isolated, frail or ill, homeless, living in poverty, or are facing other difficulties. Support requests from older people range anywhere from Financial/Legal, Personal Care, Housing, Support & Befriending or Technology and Safety/Security.

The National Support Line is the first point of access to our fully-integrated service model which assesses each individual on a case-by-case basis, which will enable older people to continue ageing at home. So far this year, ALONE have put 3,050support plans in place for those who have called with an issue in order to develop tailored solutions to each problem. The organisations individualised support plans, provide a point of contact for access to health, financial benefits and supports, social care, housing, transport and other arising needs using technology and other services and activities to improve physical, emotional and mental wellbeing.

ALONE have placed almost 100,000 calls to older people who have been linked in with their services this year to date. The total number of volunteers linked in with ALONE is over 3,000 who have cumulatively committed to 63,200 hours of volunteering in 2021.

ALONE’s Technology has been vital in assisting older people throughout the pandemic, where their team installed various devices for older people across the country in order to keep them connected, safe and secure. ALONE has enabled 455 new older people to use technology to age at home. Within the 352 Technology Support Plans put in place, 297 of these are devices that have been installed in older people’s homes.

Our integrated service:

“A 70-year-old woman called the National Support Line last May 2020, as she had recently moved back into her home house to care for her older mother. She was finding the change very tough so ALONE supplied information on Family Carers Ireland support. We set her up on Telephone Support & Befriending calls and she is currently waiting to be matched with Visitation Support & Befriending Volunteer.”

“An older gentleman called us in October 2020. He had no heating and wasn’t clear on what he needed to do with his local County Council. ALONE supported him and he was so thankful got his heating fixed and few other home repairs in time for Christmas.”

“An 80-year-old man called the National Support Line and referred himself via our website to receive Support & Befriending service as the feeling of social isolation and loneliness were making him experience feelings of depression. We matched him with a Visitation Support & Befriending volunteer in January 2021 and he is very thankful of the relationship formed through ALONE.”

Seán Moynihan, CEO of ALONE said, “Our volunteers and staff have been working alongside older people for over forty years now, and our primary objective remains enabling older people to age safely and securely in their own homes. ALONE’s Services have continued to be a lifeline for older people across the country during dark times over the past year and we will continue this work until the threat of the pandemic has passed and beyond. Our National Support Line will continue to be the gateway to accessing our services and we endeavour to keep providing and expanding these services to accommodate for those who require them.

He continued, “We have accomplished so much across 2020 and 2021 but we will continue to work with older people who are struggling in order to provide assistance, support and reassurance. We must continue to protect our ageing population following the sacrifices that they have made in the past year and provide the necessary supports for older people both now and when things begin to return to normality.”

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.

‘Budget 2022 must lift older people out of poverty’, says ALONE

The organisation has outlined its key asks in their Submission to the Department of Social Protection ahead of Budget 2022

Dublin, 8 July 2021   ALONE, the organisation that supports older people to age safely and securely at home, has put forward a series of asks in their Submission to the Department of Social Protection in advance of this year’s Budget, highlighting income gaps faced by older people and calling for a number of factors to be considered by the Department in order to protect Ireland’s growing ageing population.

Financial matters are one of the biggest concerns raised by the older people ALONE work with, with 76% of older people with living alone. Latest research shows that an income of €286.48 is needed to avoid poverty in 2021[1]. The current Contributory State Pension is €248.30 and the Non-Contributory State Pension is €237; an older person on the Contributory State Pension is €38.18 below the poverty line.

ALONE CEO Seán Moynihan, stated, “The income gap between the State Pension and the amount needed to live above the poverty line is concerning, particularly as our older population is expected to grow from 640,000 to 1.1 million by the year 2030[2]. Pensions are somehow still falling below the poverty line, despite the fact that as a country we can afford to pay pensions to ensure an adequate standard of living; this is something that must be accounted for in the next Budget to protect older people from living in poverty.”

ALONE are calling for the State Pension to be increase by €10.50 in Budget 2022 and over the next years. The organisation has recommended that the pension be triple-locked at 35% of average weekly earnings, 2.5% annually, or the rate of inflation, whichever is greater. This will help to ensure that older people can receive an adequate income, secure pensions at a deliverable rate and protect pensions when average earnings drop.

ALONE is also calling for the Department of Social Protection to update the existing Telephone Support Allowance to an integrated Telephone and Technology Support Allowance, in order to help support older people to access digital technology. The current Allowance should be increased by €5 to €7.50 to assist with costs associated with technology, such as broadband and additional or replacement equipment.

The organisation has also called for the introduction of an Older Person Technology Grant of €250 to help support older people to buy technology such as e-Health devices, voice enabled devices, emergency response alarms, tablets or smart phone devices and smart home sensors. These devices can help to further original purpose of the Telephone Allowance to “help prevent social isolation among vulnerable members of society”[3].

Moynihan stated, “We have seen key services, such as banks and social welfare either closed their offices or moved totally online and now operate from a ‘digital first’ approach. This has widened the digital divide and those without skills to use online services and technology are being left behind. Budget 2022 must reduce the digital divide.

“From ALONE’s work we have demonstrated the benefit of technology to older people to empower them to manage their own health and wellbeing, improve their safety and security and to maintain connections with family. In 2020 we carried out nearly 1,900 technology prescriptions, including pendant alarms, mobile phones, and technology support interventions and completed over 4 pilot projects to demonstrate the wide range of benefits technology has for older people.”


[1] Social Justice Ireland, 2021. Poverty Focus 2021. [online] Social Justice Ireland, p.2. Available at: 2021-04-22-povertyfocusapril2021final.pdf (socialjustice.ie)

[2] ESRI. 2017. Demand For Healthcare Projected To Increase Substantially With Rapid Growth And Ageing Of Population. [online] Available at: Demand for healthcare projected to increase substantially with rapid growth and ageing of population | ESRI

[3]Department of Social Protection, 2018. Minister Doherty introduces new Telephone Support Allowance. [online] Available at:https://www.gov.ie/en/press-release/a10ed5-minister-doherty-introduces-new-telephone-support-allowance/

#ChangeOneDay: Combat Loneliness being felt by older people with ALONE

Reach out to an older person in your life to tackle loneliness and #ChangeOneDay

Dublin,  21 June 2021   ALONE, the organisation which supports older people, is highlighting the dangerous effects of loneliness being felt by older people in lieu of Loneliness Awareness Week. The Loneliness Taskforce have remarked that they wish to raise awareness of Loneliness in June each year as they advance towards their goals. ALONE is similarly campaigning for members of the public to reach out to an older neighbour, friend, relative or someone they don’t really know that well in order to #ChangeOneDay.

ALONE encourage members of the public to get involved in this campaign to change one person’s day by reaching out to an older person in their lives and encouraging others to do the same. Using the catchy reminder to, ‘Call 1 – Nominate 1 – Change 1’ – call one older person, nominate a friend to do the same, and change one person’s day for the better. This campaign coincides with National Selfie Day on the 21st of June and you can nominate others through posting a selfie on your social media pages.

The organisation are encouraging those who participate to post a creative selfie or photo of themselves either on a phone call, on a FaceTime call with an older person, or a physical, safe visit in-person and post them to social media with the hashtag #ChangeOneDay. Remembering to tag ALONE in posts. Once you have done so, nominate another person to do the same and start the cogs turning in combatting the effects of loneliness.

Levels of loneliness have almost doubled in less than a year according to the CSO, increasing from 6.8% in April 2020 to 13.1% in February 2021. There have been significant and damaging impacts being experienced by groups most at risk, including older people, during this period. ALONE want to raise awareness of the negative effects that loneliness can have on older people, and are calling on members of the public to make small changes to their day-to-day lives that could help to combat loneliness among older people. Through this campaign, ALONE want to inspire people to think of older people throughout their day to day and check in or reach out. This could be something as simple as picking up the phone for a chat.

Loneliness has been linked to an increased risk of early death, with some studies highlighting that older people experiencing high levels of loneliness are twice as likely to die within six years compared to those who are not lonely[1]. Studies have linked loneliness and social isolation to higher risks of physical and mental conditions, including heart disease, anxiety, depression, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Since the beginning of 2021 to May of this year, ALONE made nearly 82,520 Support and Befriending calls to older people suffering from loneliness and social isolation. Also within this time frame, ALONE have received over 10,000 calls from older people to their National Support Line and in turn, have completed nearly 3,000 support plans for those who had an identified need for additional levels of support. Between 9th March and 31st December, ALONE supported almost 15,000 older people; of these callers, 31% were aged between 75-90 years and 75% were living alone.

Seán Moynihan, CEO of ALONE said, “Loneliness is a serious issue among older people which is not a new occurrence because of the arrival of COVID-19, really it’s only been exacerbated and we know the long-term impacts of loneliness will continue to affect older people long after the pandemic has passed. It is important that we begin implementing recommendations from the Loneliness Taskforce; currently, there are no structures in place for the protection of older people or funding to relieve the increasing effect of loneliness being felt across the Country.”

He continued, “We ask that members of the public continue to reach out and check in with older people. Just a few minutes out of your day, to make a phone call or safe visit, could absolutely #ChangeOneDay for an older person, particularly if they are struggling with loneliness. We are encouraging any older person who is experiencing loneliness to get in touch with ALONE. Our staff and volunteers are on-hand to provide ongoing telephone support for older people and make regular phone calls for reassurance and social support.”

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.


[1] National Institute on Aging. 2019. Social Isolation, Loneliness In Older People Pose Health Risks. [online] Available at: <https://www.nia.nih.gov/news/social-isolation-loneliness-older-people-pose-health-risks> [Accessed 16 July 2020].