ALONE responds to announcement of €73 million for Housing Adaptation Grant

The organisation has welcomed the announcement as it acknowledges the requirements needed for the changing physical needs of older people.

ALONE, the organisation which supports older people, has responded to an announcement made today by Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien on the allocation of €73.75 million made available for Housing Adaptation Grants for Older People and People with a Disability living in private houses in 2020.

ALONE have welcomed the allocation of grants enabling them to maintain their support older people to age at home, however the organisation believes that more funding is needed to ensure that Ireland’s growing ageing population can age at home safely and securely. ALONE works with older people on a variety of housing issues such as housing options, housing adaptations, housing aid and security of tenure.

ALONE’s 2018 report, Housing Choice for Older People in Ireland[1] shows that, at a conservative estimate,  an investment of €84.5 million a year is required over the next ten years in adaptation grants to allow older people to continue to age at home safely. The spend on housing aid for older people in 2010 was almost at €31 million. However, in 2018 only €14 million[2] was available to older people. In almost a decade we’ve seen a 50% decrease in Housing Grants allocations for Older People.

Ireland’s ageing population is growing, with the proportion of the population aged 60 and over set to increase by over 51% between 2016 and 2031, according to CSO population projections. The number of people aged 70 and over will increase by over 70% between 2016 and 2031, and those aged over 80 will increase by almost 91% during this period. We estimate that we need €84.5 million a year over the next couple of years for solely older people.

ALONE CEO Seán Moynihan said, “The extensive need for home adaptations for older people was emphasised by COVID-19; it is clear that we need more latitude across the country to support older people to age at home for as long as possible. By 2031 just under one quarter of our population will be aged 60 or over, years ago the grant would have offered much more money but now, when we have an additional quarter of a million older people, we require much more to cater for our ageing population. In 2020, housing issues have been the third highest need that we get calls for assistance from.”

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.


[1] https://alone.ie/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Housing-Choices-for-Older-People-in-Ireland-Time-for-Action-1.pdf

[2] https://www.disability-federation.ie/assets/files/pdf/dfi_2019_prebudget_final.pdf.

ALONE calls on Department of Social Protection to increase State Pension in 2021

The organisation is seeking a €7 increase in the state pension to ensure that older people are not left behind in tough economic times.

Dublin, 29 July 2020:    ALONE, the organisation which supports older people, is calling on the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection to increase the state pension by €7 in Budget 2021, to ensure that older people are protected during difficult economic times. Financial issues are one of the biggest concerns raised with ALONE by the older people who use their services.

ALONE are in agreement with government policy, outlined in the Roadmap for Pensions Reform 2018 – 2023, that pension rates should be equal to average weekly earnings. Ultimately, ALONE are seeking to work towards an overall increase of €26.92 to the state pension, raising it to €275.22. This is based on 35% of an average weekly wage of €786.33, as per data from the Central Statistics Office in 2019. (CSO, Q4 2019)

As many older people are heavily reliant on the state pension as their main source of income, ALONE are seeking to safeguard older people from poverty and support them to age comfortably, without having to worry about financial difficulties.  ALONE support the universal pension model and continue to urge the government to implement a universal pensions model, as set out by Social Justice Ireland. A universal pension is a flat-rate entitlement paid to all residents over a certain qualifying age, regardless of their previous social insurance contributions[2].

ALONE has put forward a series of asks for the incoming Government, and believes that these issues must be addressed as a matter of urgency to combat poverty issues faced by many older people across the country. The organisation is calling for increases to the Living Alone Allowance and Housing Assistance Payments, as well as a review on the Exceptional Needs Payment for those facing hardship in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.  ALONE would also like to see an increase to the income threshold for all means tested benefits in line with increases to the State Pension and secondary benefits, in order to ensure that welfare entitlements will not be lost if an individual’s income increases.

The organisation has welcomed the news that the Government intend to implement an auto-enrolment system for pensions, and are currently anticipating a timeline and more details on this from Government in the coming weeks and months. ALONE supports plans to introduce the Total Contributions Approach (TCA) model as mentioned in the programme for government, which would make the level of pension directly proportionate to the number of social insurance contributions made by a person over their working life, with pension credits granted to those who take time of out for caring duties. While the TCA model is to be based of 40 years’ social insurance contributions[1], ALONE believe that 30 years’ contributions is more reasonable.

ALONE CEO Seán Moynihan said, “We agree with Government policy that the state pension should be increased according to the average weekly wage; it is vital that we ensure that older people are safeguarded and guaranteed an acceptable standard of living on their pensions. It can’t be the case that older people must fight each year for a token increase to their pensions.”

He continued, “We must also implement measures which will protect older people and their pension during difficult economic times. ALONE have previously called on Government to halt increases to the pension age and triple lock the State Pension to prevent decreases in the future;  in addition to this, we believe that the state pension should either be tied to the rate of inflation, or subject to a 2.5% annual increase, to ensure that older people are not left behind. We are urging the government to work towards implementing these changes to ensure that older people are protected and supported as they age.”

ALONE is a member of the Age Alliance, a group of age sector NGO’s which work together to address the key issues facing older people and to progress the implementation of the National Positive Ageing Strategy.

ENDS

About ALONE

ALONE supports older people to age at home. We use individualised care plans to support older people to overcome problems large and small, including loneliness, lack of access to medical services, poverty, homelessness and housing difficulties. ALONE staff provide one point of contact to coordinate services and housing, and assist with reduced hospital admissions and quicker discharges. Our assistive technology provides security and support to age at home. Our volunteers provide friendship and practical help by visiting or telephoning an older person. Over the past 10 years, ALONE has grown from supporting 200 older people per year to more than 12,000, and from 45 volunteers to more than 2,000. Contact ALONE on: 0818 222 024.

For more information contact:

Fionnuala Ennis, Limelight Communications, [email protected], 086 319 9226

Kathryn Byrne, Limelight Communications, [email protected], 085 233 6033


[2] 2018. A Universal State Social Welfare Pension: Recognising The Contribution Of All Our Senior Citizens. [online] Social Justice Ireland, p.30. Available at: <https://bit.ly/30TUYug> [Accessed 20 July 2020].

[1] Government of Ireland, 2018. A Roadmap For Pensions Reform 2018 – 2023. [online] Available at: <https://assets.gov.ie/10968/9740541c18cc4eaf92554ff158800c6f.pdf> [Accessed 20 July 2020].

ALONE makes an appeal to safeguard security and supports surrounding housing for older people

The organisation is concerned of the increasing lack of suitable housing options and opportunities for our older people.

ALONE, the organisation which supports older people, has highlighted the growing housing issues prevalent among older people amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to this, older people in short-term accommodation are being asked to relocate, despite the fact that many do not have access to suitable accommodation. Now more than ever, ALONE are appealing for reformation to the supports enabling older people to stay in their homes for as long as possible.

ALONE have received a substantial number of calls in recent months from older people who are struggling to keep themselves supported in their own homes. This relates to a lack of sufficient grants enabling them to make modifications to their homes, the access and opportunity to acquire a suitable home and enhanced homecare packages to meet their needs. While ALONE welcome the Cabinet approving the extension to the temporary eviction ban and a freeze on rent increases yesterday, they have seen a stark increase in calls from older people who are living in inadequate housing conditions, in unstable accommodation, or who are living in the knowledge that they have notices to quit their rented accommodation.

ALONE are asking for long term measures to be addressed now and not to push them further down the line. ALONE have received reports of people over the age of 65 being given no other option but to sleep in cars, homeless shelters and other unfit accommodation that they manage to obtain.

ALONE CEO, Seán Moynihan said, “Once again, older people are feeling the brunt of the pandemic in the form of housing difficulties and access to social housing. We have called for a ‘spectrum of housing’ that not only takes into consideration the needs of older people from a health, community and social inclusion perspective, but also shows an awareness of the need for different price points. The pandemic has brought much scrutiny to the model of the nursing homes within Ireland and further afield. We would like to see a reduction to numbers of older people who need to shift to a costly nursing home setting due to lack of alternative housing with supports.”

He continued, “Housing challenges are incredibly difficult at any age, but particularly so for older people and those who are already vulnerable. This year we have worked with increasing numbers of older people who have found themselves with nowhere to go. While we welcome the extension to the rent freeze and eviction ban introduced by the Cabinet yesterday, we need to ensure that we are safeguarding our older people ahead of time and making immediate and appropriate plans. ALONE has historically provided safe, long term tenancies for those most in need and least able to secure the same independently.”

The organisation has previously called on the Government to provide additional supports to older people experiencing housing difficulties through their Housing Choices for Older People in Ireland[1] report published in 2018. The organisation is concerned by the growing number of people over 65, as Ireland’s ageing population is projected to grow substantially over the next ten years. Older people are finding themselves living in properties that are unsuitable or unsecure, and has highlighted the fact that often the experiences of older people are forgotten in the narrative of the housing crisis.

ALONE have asked for €84.5m a year over the next 10 years, in the form of home adaptation grants (via the Housing Aid for Older People Scheme) to assist older people to upgrade existing homes to age-friendly standards. These also need to be timely and easier to access as a reflection of the current pandemic, fewer people have been and will be going into nursing homes.

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.


[1] Housing Choices for Older People in Ireland

ALONE and TILDA compile report examining loneliness and social isolation in over-70’s

The organisations have compiled a report to highlight the effects of COVID-19 measures on older people in Ireland.

Dublin, 14 July 2020:  ALONE, the organisation which supports older people, has collaborated with The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) to publish a report examining loneliness and isolation among over-70’s during the COVID-19 pandemic. The report[1], published today by TILDA, focuses on the impact of public health measures such as ‘cocooning’ on the mental and physical health of older people who are struggling with loneliness.

The joint report offers new insights into the experiences of those over 70 who were advised to ‘cocoon’ as part of public health advice to limit the spread of the virus. The report uses data from ALONE to compare feelings of loneliness, anxiety and isolation in older adults before and during the pandemic.

 The organisation’s National Support Line was instrumental in compiling much of the information in the report, with 75% of callers living alone and 55% advised to cocoon. ALONE believes that current measures such as social distancing and cocooning are increasing levels of loneliness and social isolation among many older people, which may have a negative effect on their physical and mental wellbeing.

During the pandemic, ALONE saw a rise in callers reporting negative emotions, including suicidal ideation. Loneliness was found to have a negative effect on mental health and was associated with depressive symptoms in older people. Physical health was also negatively affected as a result of lockdown measures, with calls indicating that older people living with chronic illnesses were limited by strict cocooning measures, and many individuals were apprehensive to attend medical appointments in case they came into contact with a carrier of the virus.

ALONE provides Support and Befriending services for older people with the support of more than 2,500 volunteers. The organisation also coordinates Befriending Network Ireland, a national support network for befriending services across Ireland. ALONE was a founding member of the Loneliness Taskforce, which was established to coordinate a response to loneliness and social isolation in Ireland. ALONE’s day to day work continues, with staff and volunteers supporting thousands of older people, as well as working with Local Authorities to deliver practical supports.

The Oireachtas Special Committee on COVID-19 response meets today with the Mental Health Commission to examine the impact of COVID-19 on the demand and delivery of mental health services in Ireland. ALONE want to ensure older people are not forgotten when it comes to supporting and funding them in their re-emergence and recovery from cocooning, due to the impact it has had on their mental health at this time.

ALONE CEO, Seán Moyihan stated, “The arrival of COVID-19 in Ireland emphasised existing issues while further alienating some older people; we have seen a huge increase in loneliness  among older people as a result of the isolation experienced while cocooning.  ALONE’s coordinated National Response to the COVID-19 pandemic allowed us to respond immediately to the newly emerging concerns and existing issues being raised by older people. We adapted all of our services to ensure that we could keep them running during the pandemic. We established a loneliness taskforce to ensure we were putting provisions in place to safeguard older people, both now and into the future. It is important for members of the public to remember that loneliness can happen to anyone and can take a toll on both your physical and mental health. We hope that we can work towards breaking down this stigma and focus on the people behind the percentages.”

He continued, “Loneliness and social isolation are two of the greatest health risks for older people today. Research shows that loneliness and social isolation are harmful to our health and are worse for us than well-known risk factors such as obesity and physical inactivity. 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.”

Since March, ALONE’s National Support Line has received in excess of 27,012 calls for support. ALONE staff and volunteers have made more than 130,149 calls to older people who needed support, and provided more than 22,725 units of practical support, delivered from the support line, staff and volunteers. ALONE is providing ongoing support to more than 13,058 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.


[1] https://tilda.tcd.ie/publications/reports/pdf/Report_Covid19SocialIsolation.pdf

ALONE raises concerns regarding access to safe public transport for older people

The organisation has highlighted the difficulties faced by older people in accessing safe public transport during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Dublin, 6 July 2020:  ALONE, the organisation which supports older people, has highlighted the significant lack of accessible and safe transport available to older people amid the COVID-19 pandemic. ALONE has received a substantial number of calls to its National Support Line from older people who are now finding it difficult to access transport due to the country beginning to reopen. As older people rely on public transport to attend important medical appointments and collect necessities like groceries and medication, we are now worried for their safety.

While there is strong evidence that older people are keen to attend necessary hospital appointments, many are apprehensive about using public transport in case they come into contact with a carrier of the virus. The organisation has also raised concerns regarding older people with mobility issues, who may not be able to use public transport and rely on other means of transport such as family members or private ambulances.

ALONE are cognisant of the wider systemic issues faced by older people in accessing safe and affordable transport and further delays to appointments are not viable at this time. The organisation said that the cost of getting taxis to and from appointments means that they are not a viable alternative transport for many older people. ALONE have been assisting these transportation queries by providing a redirection for older people to the Irish Red Cross who have been helping older people attend appointments across the country. With transportation continuously arising as problematic for older people, COVID-19 has only compounded this issue further.

ALONE CEO, Seán Moynihan said, “Many older people who cannot drive or do not have access to a car rely on public transport to go about their daily lives, however the arrival of COVID-19 in Ireland has caused older people to become anxious when using public transport. The only other option for older people is to take taxis to their appointments, which is something that many older people cannot afford on a regular basis. As a result of this, many older people with underlying medical conditions are missing essential checkups, because they do not want to put themselves at further risk by using public transport. This is an issue which is affecting older people in both rural and urban areas.”

He continued, “While we were pleased to hear the news that the wearing of face coverings is now mandatory on public transport from the 29th of June, older people are still apprehensive to use public transport as they are one of the groups most affected by COVID-19. We are asking members of the public to remember the older people in their lives who may be struggling, and if it is safe to do so, offer to take them to and from appointments.”

Since March, ALONE’s National Support Line has received in excess of 26,174 calls for support. ALONE staff and volunteers have made more than 127,475 calls to older people who needed support, and provided more than 21,549 units of practical support, delivered from the support line, staff and volunteers. ALONE is providing ongoing support to more than 13,300 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.

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.

ALONE release Health and Wellbeing plan to support older people amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

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.

ALONE calls for protection of our older people against violence, abuse and neglect on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

The organisation is also asking members of the public to be vigilant, offer support and safeguard older people who may be struggling in the weeks and months ahead.

Dublin, 15 June 2020: ALONE, the organisation which supports older people is encouraging members of the public to be conscious of older people in our society who may be experiencing elder abuse or negligence on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. The organisation has warned that older people may be more susceptible to elder abuse amid the current COVID-19 pandemic, with many experiencing a loss of independence due to COVID-19 safety restrictions.

ALONE has highlighted the fact that many older people are more at risk now as they are seeing people less frequently. Many older people who would have been independent before the COVID-19 outbreak are now relying on others for support and assistance in their day-to-day lives. However, cocooning and social distancing measures have resulted in reduced home care services and other support services for older people, having a detrimental effect on their overall physical and mental wellbeing. There has also been a reduction in older people going into institutions such as hospitals and care homes to receive necessary care.

The organisation is urging members of the public to remain vigilant and to safeguard our older people while also encouraging older people who are suffering from abuse or negligence to reach out and seek help. As an organisation, ALONE endeavours to support older people experiencing these difficulties and assist them when they need it most.

Seán Moynihan, ALONE CEO, said “There are many different types of abuse of an older person, such as physical abuse, psychological abuse or financial abuse. These may be carried out deliberately, or through negligence. An older person may experience more than one form of abuse at any given time, unfortunately many feel too ashamed to come forward and seek help.”

He continued, “Many older people are at an increased risk of suffering from abuse now as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect older and vulnerable people. Individuals who would have been independent before this crisis now have to rely on people where they didn’t before, and many of these individuals feel that their independence has been stripped away to some extent. We need to address this issue now to prevent it worsening over the coming weeks and months. If you are concerned about an older person, call us on 0818 222 024 or email us at [email protected] If you have immediate concerns about the safety or welfare of an older person in your life, please contact An Garda Síochána immediately.”

ALONE is also urging any older person who may be experiencing abuse to reach out and ask for support.

“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. This isn’t something that you have to go through alone, our organisation is there to offer support, advice and assistance to those who need it. 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 23,833 calls for support. ALONE staff and volunteers have made more than 102,753 calls to older people who needed support, and provided more than 15,400 units of practical support, including collecting groceries and prescriptions. ALONE is providing ongoing support to more than 12,616 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.

ALONE responds positively to updated Programme for Government

The organisation has responded to the Programme for Government published earlier today.

Dublin, 15th June 2020: ALONE, the organisation which supports older people, has responded to the updated Programme for Government document released earlier today. The organisation was pleased to see that the Programme for Government contained significantly more references to older people than previous documents, including policies on the right to home care, the commitment to Sláintecare and positive housing options for older people.

While ALONE has welcomed certain aspects of the document, the organisation was disappointed at the lack of reference to the issue of loneliness among older people, as this is an issue that affects a huge number of older people. The organisation have also urged the incoming Government to appoint a Minister of State for Older People within the Department of the Taoiseach, and a Commissioner for Older People and Demographic Change who would oversee and deliver the implementation of the National Positive Ageing Strategy.

The organisation has put forward four asks for the incoming Government, and believes that these issues must be addressed as a matter of urgency to improve the quality of life for many older people across the country. The organisation would like to see funding for home supports and health services which would allow older people to age safely at home as well as housing targets and supports for older to prevent a worsening housing crisis.

ALONE CEO Seán Moynihan stated “We are very supportive of the policies outlined in this document and we are willing to play our part to implement real change for older people in the coming weeks and months. The document contains a lot of restatement of the policies and practices that we have been campaigning for over many years. Now is the time for actions, not words; COVID-19 has taught us that we can implement policies quickly, we are pleased to see that much of what is listed in the document can be implemented. There is still work to be done to improve the quality of life for older people across the country. The lack of reference to older people in previous Government formation documents was a cause of huge concern for us. Therefore, we were pleased to see a number of important issues addressed in the document, such the introduction of a commission to examine care and supports for older people, the right to home care and housing supports, and the commitment to the Sláintecare Implementation Plan.”

He continued, “We look forward to working with the incoming Government to tackle these challenges, and we hope that a Minister for Older People will be appointed. Older people have struggled the most with the outbreak of COVID-19 and it is the duty of the incoming Government to ensure that they are supported to deal with its aftermath. We must ensure that the needs of older people are prioritised,

and that the incoming Minister for Mental Health and Older People has a strong voice in designing and influencing policy as we move into the later phases of the COVID-19 Roadmap.”

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 23,833 calls for support. ALONE staff and volunteers have made more than 102,753 calls to older people who needed support, and provided more than 15,400 units of practical support, including collecting groceries and prescriptions. ALONE is providing ongoing support to more than 12,616 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.

Befriending Visits

From today, Monday 8th June, all befriending visits can begin again once people are travelling anywhere within their own county or 20km cross county. Please contact the older person you support to ensure they are happy for visits to resume. Small numbers of people are now allowed visit the homes of those over 70, or medically vulnerable.

During your visits please adhere to the health and safety guidelines:
· Remember to practice social distancing, keeping a space of 2 metres between you and the older person
· Follow guidelines around hand washing, sneezing and coughing into your arm or a tissue
· At this time please keep all visits within an hour time frame · Face coverings are advised to be worn.

Please see attached the HSE guidelines ·

If you have a concern for the older person you support please ring 0818 222 024  https://alone.ie/covid-19-response-volunteers-information-resources/

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