ALONE welcomes support from Horizon Therapeutics to deliver support to older people

The organisation is grateful for the donation, which will enable it to continue its efforts in assisting older people through the COVID-19 pandemic and into the future.

Dublin, 3rd April 2020: ALONE, the organisation that supports older people, has welcomed support from Horizon Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company with its global headquarters in Dublin. The company is providing financial support to community organizations who are providing critical services, with ALONE receiving €150,000 to support their work with older people.

This fund will allow ALONE to continue providing valuable assistance to older people who are cocooning, including their national phoneline for older people, and will enable them to continue to provide support for older people into the future. The ALONE helpline offers advice and support for COVID-19 and other issues that are coming up for older people at this time, including difficulties in relation to physical and mental health, loneliness, isolation, finance, safety, and housing. ALONE are currently receiving more than 1,000 phone calls a day to the helpline.

“We owe it to the communities where we live and work to provide assistance during times of crisis,” said Tim Walbert, chairman, president and chief executive officer, Horizon. “We are committed to supporting ALONE with the fantastic service they are providing the older and more vulnerable people in our society during this unprecedented time and hope that other companies in Ireland will join us in providing support to these efforts. “

Seán Moynihan, CEO of ALONE said, “We are so grateful to Horizon for their assistance in what is an extremely difficult period for many older people in Ireland, with many facing increasingly challenging circumstances due to COVID-19 restrictions. Thanks to Horizon’s donation, we will be able to continue our work with older people during these unsettling times and into the future.”

ALONE is encouraging older people who need advice or support to call their support line, 0818 222 024 from 8am-8pm, seven days a week. The support line, which is running in collaboration with the Department of Health and the HSE, is available to all older people including those who have not used ALONE’s services previously. The support line is designed to complement the clinical advice and information being provided by the HSE through its website and helpline.

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 thanks Gavin James and the public for raising an astonishing €160,000 in support of their services

The organisation has been overwhelmed by the support received from the people of Ireland

Dublin, 3rd April 2020:   The team at ALONE, the organisation that supports older people, want to express their tremendous gratitude to Gavin James, The Late Late Show, and the people of Ireland for raising more than €160,000 to support their work.

The charity has hugely expanded their services since the COVID-19 outbreak in Ireland to meet the needs of older people nationwide, and has launched a national helpline for older people in collaboration with the Department of Health, the HSE, and Local Authorities.

Gavin James and ALONE CEO Seán Moynihan were guests on The Late Late Show with Miriam O’Callaghan on Friday night, with Gavin rounding off the night with an emotional rendition of ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’.

“We would like to sincerely thank Gavin James, his fans, and the audience of the Late Late Show for this phenomenal contribution to our services,” said ALONE CEO Seán Moynihan. “We have truly been overwhelmed by the astonishing level of support we have received from every corner of the country over the last few days. It is absolutely unprecedented. We would like to thank the Late Late Show and Miriam O’Callaghan for their support and for inviting us on for what was an unforgettable night.”

He continued, “Even though we are all staying at home, we are part of something bigger and we are all making a difference. We cannot express our gratitude to the Irish people for their amazing generosity during these difficult times. Every person who texted in to donate, everyone who has been running fundraisers and organising events, every business which has lent us their support – every euro makes a difference to our services and we simply can’t thank you enough.”

The €160,000 in donations, raised through online live-streamed performances by Gavin James and an enormous response to the Late Late Show appearance on Friday, will be used to continue ALONE’s work to support older people throughout the COVID-19 crisis and beyond. The ALONE COVID-19 helpline for older people is open from 8am-8pm seven days a week.

ALONE has seen a huge increase in calls to the helpline with queries and concerns relating to COVID-19 since further restrictions were introduced last week, receiving more than 1,000 calls a day this week following the introduction of cocooning measures.  

ALONE is encouraging older people who need advice or support to call their support line, 0818 222 024 from 8am-8pm, seven days a week. The support line, which is running in collaboration with the Department of Health and the HSE, is available to all older people including those who have not used ALONE’s services previously. The support line is designed to complement the clinical advice and information being provided by the HSE through its website and helpline.

To donate to ALONE, text ‘ALONE’ to 50300 to donate €4 or make a donation through www.alone.ie .

ALONE receives more than 1,100 calls to helpline for older people in one day as cocooning measures are introduced

The organisation welcomes the launch of Local Authority practical support lines and reminds older people that staying at home doesn’t mean they will be alone

Dublin, 30th March 2020:   ALONE, the organisation that supports older people, received more than 1,100 calls to their COVID-19 helpline for older people on Saturday following the introduction of the cocooning measures, and is adding further staff members to answer phone calls to meet the increasing demand.

ALONE has received more than 5,500 calls to their National Helpline in total, which is operating in collaboration with the Department of Health and the HSE, and expect the daily number of phone calls to remain high as older people follow the advice of the Department of Health and stay in their homes. 

The organisation has welcomed the introduction of practical support phone lines for older and medically vulnerable people by Local Authorities nationwide, which will increase capacity and resources for those who are most in need. ALONE will work in collaboration with Local Authorities, and the ALONE National Helpline will complement Local Authority work by continuing to provide information, advice, emotional support, and provide daily telephone support to older people who would like extra social contact at this time.

The Local Authority Community Response Forum will meet in every local authority area and will consist of the HSE, the council, county champions, An Post, Community Welfare Service, An Garda Siochana, other State organisations, and community and voluntary groups, including ALONE and other age organisations.

 “We greatly welcome the news that Local Authorities will now provide practical supports to older and medically vulnerable people throughout this time,” said ALONE CEO Seán Moynihan. “We look forward to working closely with all Local Authorities so that together we can offer advice, support, and practical assistance to older people and those who are among high risk groups. So far we and our volunteers have carried out hundreds of practical support tasks to assist older people, and Local Authorities will have the ability to scale this further as demand increases. We received more than 1,100 calls on Saturday alone following the introduction of cocooning measures and the capacity provided by the Local Authorities is both welcome and needed.”

The charity also urged communities, family members and neighbours to step up and offer the vital support needed by older people at this time, and reminded older people that staying at home does not mean they will be alone.

“This is an incredibly difficult time for all of us but particularly older people and especially those who live alone,” said ALONE CEO Seán Moynihan. “We are urging family members, neighbours and communities to stay in touch with the older people they know and to provide support if needed. The majority of support provided will come from families, neighbours and communities, and their resilience and cooperation is needed now more than ever. Our message to older people is that staying at home doesn’t mean you are alone, and we are encouraging every older person to keep in contact with the people and support organisations they need throughout this time.”

He concluded, “We are encouraging any older person who has questions, concerns, worries, or is experiencing loneliness at this time, to get in touch with us by calling 0818 222 024. As well as difficulties with everyday activities like getting groceries, cocooning measures will also result in lots of older people feeling lonely and isolated, including those who may not previously have identified with this experience. It is important that every older person knows that support is available to them,” Moynihan continued.

An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister for Health Simon Harris visited ALONE’s Dublin offices last week to meet with CEO Seán Moynihan and discuss the organisation’s COVID-19 strategy for supporting older people in the current circumstances.

As a member organisation of the National Public Health Emergency COVID-19 Subgroup for Vulnerable People, ALONE is working in collaboration with the Department of Health and the HSE on a coordinated national response to support older people who have concerns, may be at risk or who have contracted COVID-19.

ALONE is encouraging older people who need advice to call their helpline, 0818 222 024 from 8am-8pm, seven days a week. The helpline, which is running in collaboration with the Department of Health and the HSE, is available to all older people including those who have not used ALONE’s services previously. The support line is designed to complement the clinical advice and information being provided by the HSE through its website and helpline. Older people who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 are advised to call their GP.

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.

COUNCIL PARTNERS WITH ALONE TO HELP OLDER PEOPLE DURING CRISIS

The organisation which supports older people is working with a number of partner organisations to align its support services for older people

PRESS RELEASE

Dublin, Tuesday 24th March Dublin City Council has announced a new partnership with ALONE to provide support and assistance to older people during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Along with Pobal and the Dublin City Age Friendly Alliance, these partner organisations will be working together to align with the sector, streamline requests for help, and ensure that vulnerable older people across the country receive the support and assistance that they need.

ALONE currently operates a national support line for older people that was set up in collaboration with the HSE and the Department of Health. The line is active from 8am to 8pm seven days a week, and has received more than 3,300 calls to date.

Commenting on the partnership the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Tom Brabazon, stated “While we find ourselves in an unprecedented situation with the COVID-19 pandemic, it is vital that we look after the members of society who are most at risk. The reality for a lot of elderly people in this situation is that they are too scared to go outside in case they come into contact with a carrier of the disease and fall ill with the virus. By working together, we can ensure that when these older people call the support line they are given the advice and help that they need by a trained staff member.”

The support line is to be a single point of contact from which all requests can be assessed and processed appropriately. This will be achieved by bringing together An Garda Síochána, community partners, volunteers and Dublin City Council to provide a national response and create a model that other groups and local authorities can replicate. The organisations will work together to ensure that all staff and volunteers providing supports are fully trained and Garda vetted, and adhere to best practice guidelines for dealing with older people. The group will also work towards developing long term relationships in the event of other crises in the future and to main a link with the older people in our community.

Seán Moynihan, CEO of ALONE, said, “The main requests that our phone operators are getting at the moment are for information and daily contact but as we move to the next phase there is increasing demand for deliveries of food, medication and fuel, which are things that most people take for granted. We hope that this partnership will enable us to increase the levels of support that we already offer to older people across the country, who may be feeling scared or isolated due to the necessary health restrictions imposed to stop the spread of Coronavirus. We are already working with multiple partners and going forward we will involve other organisations to help address health and wellbeing issues.”

ALONE are working to add other local authorities to this partnership. Several other County Councils have indicated their interest and it is hoped that this partnership can provide a model of how the community and voluntary sector can work together with the local authorities throughout this crisis.

Beatrice Casserly who heads up the Dublin City Age Friendly Programme added, “Many older people are self-isolating as a precautionary measure to avoid contracting Coronavirus, however this can make everyday tasks such as grocery shopping or collecting prescriptions impossible. With the introduction of a streamlined support service, we can ensure that these people are looked after

when they most need it. Until the curve has been flattened and it is safe for normal life to resume, our organisations will work together to protect the vulnerable members of our community.”

Assistant Commissioner Orla McPartlin, An Garda Síochána stated, “An Garda Síochána is pleased to support this worthwhile initiative between ALONE and Dublin City Council by providing as much support as possible during these challenging times. I wish to reaffirm the public commitment made by Deputy Commissioner John Twomey on behalf of An Garda Síochána to support the most vulnerable in our society, particularly our elderly and isolated. An Garda Síochána has always worked closely with our communities and we continue to do so in these extraordinary times. We look forward to the continued collaborative efforts with local authorities and community groups such as Alone and others.”

ALONE continues to take calls from concerned older people through their COVID-19 support line

Taoiseach and Minister for Health visit ALONE’s offices and urge communities to support older people who may be vulnerable where possible

Dublin, 23rd March 2020: ALONE, the organisation that supports older people, has received thousands of calls to their COVID-19 support line for older people since it launched two weeks ago, and has added extra staff to answer the lines to meet the demand.

The organisation has received more than 2,200 calls from older people looking for advice and reassurance, and has offered support to 4,600 older people since the launch of the helpline. ALONE expect the daily number of phone calls to increase further as older people follow the advice of the Department of Health and reduce their contacts outside the home.

An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister for Health Simon Harris visited ALONE’s Dublin offices today to meet with CEO Seán Moynihan and discuss the organisation’s COVID-19 strategy for supporting vulnerable older people in the current circumstances.

As a member organisation of the National Public Health Emergency COVID-19 Subgroup for Vulnerable People, ALONE is working in collaboration with the Department of Health and the HSE on a coordinated national response to support older people who have concerns, may be at risk or who have contracted COVID-19.

ALONE is encouraging older people who need advice or support to call their support line, 0818 222 024 from 8am-8pm, seven days a week. The support line, which is running in collaboration with the Department of Health and the HSE, is available to all older people including those who have not used ALONE’s services previously. The support line is designed to complement the clinical advice and information being provided by the HSE through its website and helpline. Older people who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 are advised to call their GP.

“The nature of the queries has changed slightly – when we launched earlier this month, it was things like should I still be going to mass, should I still see my grandchildren, and they are still coming in, but people are now concerned also about what support will be available to them if they have to self-isolate or ‘cocoon’ in the coming weeks,” said ALONE CEO Seán Moynihan

“Over the last few days we are getting a lot of concerned older people calling in worried about what would happen if they had to stay in their homes for a longer period of time. We have been receiving increasing numbers of calls from older people who are self-isolating and who require support with getting their groceries, prescriptions and fuel, which we are providing with the help of our volunteers. We are assuring these older people that support will be available from ALONE and other similar organizations during this difficult period.”

“We encourage older people who need support to get in touch with us by calling 0818 222 024, and ALONE and our partner organisations will provide the help that they need. We are working with the HSE, the Department of Health, the Department of Rural and Community Development, Pobal, Rural Link, Volunteer Ireland, The Wheel, and more partner organisations to ensure older people have access to the support they need no matter where they are in the country.”

ALONE has also issued an appeal to families, neighbours and friends of older people who may be vulnerable to get in touch with the older person they know by phone to share the support line details and to offer their own support to their families and neighbours. Moynihan also emphasised that the level of community response to COVID-19 so far had been “unprecedented”.

“We are asking members of the public to keep in regular contact by phone with the older people in their lives, as most will now be limiting leaving their home, and may require additional support,” Moynihan said. “It has been phenomenal to see the outpouring of generosity from individuals and organisations across the country, and people stepping up to meet the needs of others in their community. Now and in the weeks to come, the support of the community will be needed more than ever.

“We are incredibly grateful for all of the offers to volunteer we have been receiving through email and social media. We have received a huge response and we will be back in touch with everyone who has so generously volunteered their time as soon as possible. Over the coming months we hope to recruit 1,500 volunteers. For those who are interested in providing support to older people throughout this period, we would ask them to email us on [email protected] with their full name, phone contact details and location.”

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 extends opening times of COVID-19 phone line for older people as it receives hundreds of calls

ALONE calls on community to support older people who may be vulnerable

Dublin, 19 March 2020: ALONE, the organisation that supports older people, has received hundreds of calls to their COVID-19 support line for older people since it launched on Monday, and has extended its opening hours to include Saturdays and Sundays.

ALONE has received increasing numbers of phone calls from older people looking for support and reassurance throughout the week, including on Saturday and Sunday, and has added extra staff on the lines to meet the demand.

The charity expects the daily number of phone calls to increase further as Department of Health advice to older people and vulnerable groups to reduce their contacts outside their home is implemented by older people in the community.

ALONE is encouraging older people who need advice or support to call their support line, 0818 222 024 from 8am-8pm, seven days a week. The support line, which is running in collaboration with the Department of Health and the HSE, will also be open on St Patrick’s Day. The service is available to all older people including those who have not used ALONE’s services previously. The support line is to complement the clinical advice and information being provided by the HSE through its website and helpline. Older people who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 are advised to call their GP.

As a member organisation of the National Public Health Emergency COVID-19 Subgroup for Vulnerable People, ALONE is working in collaboration with the Department of Health and the HSE on a coordinated national response to support older people who have concerns, may be at risk or who have contracted COVID-19.

“Every person has a responsibility to those who are vulnerable in their communities. Every decision, big and small, matters and can have an impact on the people around you. It is vital that the community pulls together now and that everyone plays their part to ensure older people and those who are most vulnerable are supported,” said ALONE CEO Seán Moynihan.

“Earlier in the week we were hearing from older people who needed some reassurance and who were feeling anxious about the outbreak. Now, and particularly over the weekend, we have been receiving increasing numbers of calls from older people who are self-isolating and who require support with getting their groceries, prescriptions and fuel, which we are providing with the help of our volunteers.”

“We are encouraging older people who need support to get in touch with ALONE by calling 0818 222 024, and we will provide the support they need, ourselves and with our partner organisations. We are working with the HSE, the Department of Health, the Department of Rural and Community Development, Pobal, Rural Link, Volunteer Ireland, The Wheel, and more partner organisations to ensure older people have access to the support they need no matter where they are in the country.”

As well as providing the helpline, advice, reassurance, and support with tasks including grocery and prescription collection and drop off, ALONE is also offering regular check in calls to older people who may feel isolated or want regular contact throughout this period. This is made possible by ALONE’s telephone support infrastructure, partner organisations, and more than 2,000 ALONE volunteers. Last year ALONE and its volunteers made 97,345 phone calls to older people throughout the year.

ALONE has also issued an appeal to families, neighbours and friends of older people who may be vulnerable to get in touch with the older person they know by phone to share the support line details and to offer their own support to their families and neighbours. Moynihan also emphasised that the level of community response to COVID-19 so far had been “unprecedented”.

“We are asking members of the public to keep in regular contact by phone with the older people you know, as most will now be limiting leaving their home, and may require additional support,” Moynihan said. “It has been phenomenal to see the outpouring of generosity from individuals and organisations across the country, and people stepping up to meet the needs of others in their community. Now and in the weeks to come, the support of the community will be needed more than ever.

“We are incredibly grateful for all of the offers to volunteer we have been receiving through email and social media. We have received a huge response and we will be back in touch with everyone who has so generously volunteered their time as soon as possible. Over the coming months we hope to recruit 1,500 volunteers. For those who are interested in providing support to older people throughout this period, we would ask them to email us on [email protected] with their full name, phone contact details and location.”

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 launch a COVID-19 support line for older people Working in collaboration with the Department of Health and the HSE

ALONE announce national support line and additional supports and outreach for older people

PRESS RELEASE

Dublin, 8 March 2020:  ALONE, the organisation that supports older people, has announced the launch of a national support line and additional supports for older people who have concerns or are facing difficulties relating to the outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in Ireland.

On Tuesday 3 March, the National Public Health Emergency, chaired by Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer in the Department of Health, announced the establishment of a Vulnerable People Subgroup.

As a member organisation of the National Public Health Emergency COVID-19 Subgroup for Vulnerable People, ALONE is working in collaboration with the Department of Health and the HSE on a coordinated national response to support older people who have concerns, may be at risk or who have contracted COVID-19.

The supports offered include a new national support line launching tomorrow, Monday 9 March, and additional outreach and coordinated support. This support line is to complement the clinical advice and information being provided by the HSE through its website and helpline.

Professional staff will be available to answer queries regarding COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and give advice and reassurance where necessary. The support line will be open Monday to Friday, 8am-8pm, by calling 0818 222 024, and hours may be extended to meet the demand.

Sean Moynihan, CEO of ALONE said, “The WHO advises us to be SMART and inform ourselves about COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and to be kind and support one another. This support line provides additional information supports for older people who may have concerns or support needs; it is led by our voluntary sector who provide invaluable work with communities; and is working as part of our co-ordinated national response to COVID-19.”

“We are ramping up our response to COVID-19 to provide support to all older people nationwide working in collaboration with the Department of Health and the HSE,” he continued.

“As the situation develops, as well as advice, information and emotional supports, we will ensure every older person will have access to food, medication, fuel, daily contact, and any other support that may be needed. We want to emphasise that these supports are free, and available to all older people, including those who have not previously used our services.

“Should any older person need any advice or practical support, we encourage them to call us on 0818 222 024. We are also collaborating on our response with more than 100 other organisations in the community and voluntary sector working with older people, providing them with support where necessary, to create a surge in capacity and ensure a comprehensive and robust response. As the situation develops we may need to call on civic organisations to support our work.”

“Our message is clear, ALONE and its partner organisations are providing additional information and supports, however where older people consider that they have COVID-19 (Coronavirus) symptoms and meet the criteria set out by the HSE their first point of contact should be to phone a doctor in line with HSE advice.”

Moynihan continued: “At the moment the risk of contracting Coronavirus is low to moderate. In line with HSE advice older people should continue to carry out their daily activities as normal while taking the appropriate preventative measures, including regular washing of hands and practicing cough etiquette.”

ALONE has 2,000 volunteers who provide visitation and telephone Support and Befriending, and professional staff who offer coordinated supports to older people experiencing loneliness, financial and housing difficulties, and any other challenges they may face. 45% of the older people ALONE supports are over the age of 80.

ALONE advises that older people practice the following protective measures as outlined by the HSE:

·       Wash your hands regularly with soap and water.

·       Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing/sneezing.

·       Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

·       Practice cough and sneeze hygiene – covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough/sneeze. Then dispose of the tissue immediately.

·               Stay informed: keep up to date on latest Covid-19 information on www.hse.ie

“The outbreak of COVID-19 will pose additional challenges for older people who may already be vulnerable and particularly those who struggle with health difficulties, loneliness, and other issues,” concluded Moynihan. “To the friends and family of older people who may have concerns, we are encouraging them to continue to support older people in the community as they have always done, while ensuring they are taking the same protective measures.”

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 encourage older people to remain calm and take preventative health measures as COVID-19 is confirmed in Ireland

Dublin, 2nd March 2020   ALONE is urging older people to take extra care and observe guidelines from the HSE and Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) following the announcement of a case of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in the east of Ireland. Older people may be more vulnerable to viruses such as COVID-19, due to compromised or weakened immune systems or pre-existing health issues. ALONE is advising older people to remain calm and follow the relevant preventative measures to stay well in order to reduce their risk of contracting the virus.

Seán Moynihan, CEO of ALONE commented, “We advise that older people remain calm yet vigilant until the threat of coronavirus subsides. Viruses such as these often pose more of a threat to older people, who may have compromised immune systems or pre-existing health conditions.  45% of the people who use ALONE’s services are over the age of 80, and understandably outbreaks such as this can be very worrying. Over the next few days, ALONE’s services will be reaching out to older people in the community who may be vulnerable or concerned, to offer them the support and advice that they need. We are also reaching out to the HSE to coordinate our response.”

ALONE advises that older people practice the following precautions to reduce the general risk of acute respiratory infections while out and about:

  • Wash hands regularly, especially after direct contact with ill people or their environment.
  • Avoid close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections or other illnesses.
  • Individuals with symptoms of acute respiratory infection should practice cough etiquette (maintain distance, cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing, and wash hands).

Moynihan continued, “It is important that older people follow all HSE guidelines and take all preventative measures as recommended; wash your hands regularly and use alcohol based hand sanitizer to prevent the spread of bacteria. It is also important that individuals of all ages, though they may not be among vulnerable groups themselves, remember to be conscious of their potential to spread Coronavirus and other winter illnesses, and to take similar precautions.”

Any person concerned that they may have symptoms of Coronavirus should immediately isolate themselves from others and contact their GP by phone. ALONE is advising older people who are concerned about their own wellbeing to be mindful of good hygiene practices, to contact their local GP or healthcare provider by telephone and to ask for assistance and help if needed.

Contact ALONE 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.

Additional information can be found via the following links

World Health Organisation

ECDC

HPSC

ENDS

ALONE and Dublin City Council urge communities to reach out to older people this winter

Lord Mayor launches ALONE and Dublin City Council Cold Weather Initiative

Dublin, 2nd December 2019  Lord Mayor of Dublin, Paul Mc Auliffe, launched Dublin City Council and ALONE’s cold weather campaign outside Bewley’s Café on Grafton Street today. Dublin City Council’s Community Development Section, in association with ALONE, the Gardaí, Dublin Fire Brigade, and StayWell Pharmacies is urging members of the public to check in on older people in their community this winter.

Lord Mayor Paul Mc Auliffe said, “The colder winter months can be a difficult time for many people who are vulnerable and may be feeling isolated. We are appealing to all Dubliners and indeed people across the country to be mindful of older people in our communities who may live alone or be at risk of struggling with loneliness, health difficulties or fuel poverty.

This campaign represents the community and the whole city working together to make a difference in the lives of older people, many of whom face worries about warmth, shelter and essentials such as food and medication at this time of year. I am confident that Dubliners will respond with our usual sense of kindness, compassion and goodness.”

Seán Moynihan, CEO of ALONE commented, “Colder temperatures can have a serious impact on the health and safety of older people, and Ireland has among the highest levels of excess winter mortality in Europe. We regularly work with older people who don’t have central heating, live in challenging housing conditions, and even people who have used their free travel and stayed on buses and trains during the day to keep warm. It’s really important that we reach out to people who may be finding things difficult due to ill health, financial worries, or housing difficulties. We hope that by spreading this message and by reaching out, more people will stay safe and well this winter.”

Moynihan continued, “According to reports by TILDA, around 1 in 10 older people have problems heating their home, and nearly half have experienced problems with damp, mould or mildew. We encourage anyone who may be concerned about their own wellbeing or someone else’s to reach out for assistance from ALONE if needed. We want people to know that ALONE is here to help with any problems they may have this winter, from housing conditions to loneliness.”

ALONE have also partnered with StayWell pharmacies this winter. Anyone interested in supporting older people to stay warm in winter can donate new hot water bottles, blankets, gloves, slippers and more through donation boxes in nine StayWell pharmacies nationwide, which ALONE will distribute to older people who need them. Donations can be made directly to ALONE on www.alone/donate

ALONE is encouraging older people to prioritise their spending on heating during the winter months. ALONE have staff ready to act on requests for assistance and can advise on issues relating to food, heat, utilities or medication.

Further information, including advice and tips for older people in cold weather conditions, can be found on www.alone.ie.

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. For more information visit www.alone.ie  

The campaign is part of Dublin City Council’s commitment to an Age-Friendly City.

Make Your Minutes Count with ALONE this Christmas

“Older people have the most amazing stories to tell”: Marian Keyes joins ALONE in asking the public to reach out and spend some time with older people spending Christmas alone

Dublin, 15th November 2019 ALONE, the organisation that supports older people to age at home, has today launched their Christmas campaign, which encourages members of the public to make their minutes count by working together to tackle loneliness and isolation.

Author Marian Keyes launched the organisation’s Christmas campaign, to encourage members of the public to take a few minutes out of their day to interact with their older neighbours and relatives who may be experiencing feelings of loneliness as the festive season approaches.

ALONE is also asking for support from new volunteers and donors to help to support them to combat loneliness and other challenges faced by older people. One in ten people over 75 are lonely a lot of the time and demand for ALONE’s services has increased five-fold in recent years. One in 4 older people live alone, and this increases in rural areas.

Marian commented, “I’m delighted to be helping ALONE launch their Christmas campaign this year, to spread awareness of such an important issue. I admire the work that they do with older people and I’m so happy to be a part of such a positive message. Loneliness and isolation can be serious problems for older people and dropping in for a chat or helping a neighbour with their shopping could make all the difference to their mental health. We’ve all felt alone at certain times in our lives, sometimes all it takes is a cup of tea and a bit of a laugh to really lift an older person’s spirits.  A few minutes may not mean much to you, but to a lonely older person it could be the highlight of their day.”

She continued, “As we age, it can be more difficult to reach out to people for companionship; a lot of older people might be embarrassed or too proud to admit that they are lonely. What might only seem like a quick chat to you can make an older person feel loved, appreciated, and that they are part of the community. Older people have the most amazing stories to tell and it’s really important that we take the time to listen. Christmas provides people with the perfect opportunity to drop in on older neighbours and relatives for a few mince pies and a chat.”

ALONE depends on the generosity of the public for support through volunteering and donations. As part of a range of services, ALONE provides a Support and Befriending service, which is designed to alleviate the negative impacts loneliness has on mental and physical health. Volunteers are trained and supported by experienced staff, and provide older people with companionship and practical support.

“It takes us ten minutes to introduce an older person to their new volunteer, but it can lead to years of companionship and friendship and it can change someone’s life. In the run up to Christmas none of us ever seem to have enough time to do all the things we need to do. We know that not everyone has the time to volunteer with ALONE – but it only takes a minute to donate and to help us to continue to do the work we do. Demand for our services has increased five-fold in recent years and we are reliant on the support of the public to keep delivering our services. €10 can pay for an hour of support from ALONE,” said ALONE CEO Seán Moynihan.

Moynihan continued, “Loneliness is a crisis experienced by thousands of older people and it’s important to remember that there are many older people who will spend the festive period alone. Loneliness is a year-round issue but it can be particularly difficult during the festive and winter periods. 45% of the older people we work with are over 80. We are asking members of the public to support ALONE by giving a little bit of their time to older people who are alone, by making a donation to support our services or by referring an older person who might use our services.”

ALONE also launched its national phone line at their Christmas launch. The phone line is open Monday-Friday from 9-5 for older people across the country, on 0818 222 024.

“We are encouraging any older person who needs support this winter to reach out and give us a call,” said Moynihan. “There are tens of thousands of older people who are experiencing loneliness, isolation, housing and financial difficulties, and other challenges this winter, and we want them to know that support is available. 1 in 4 people who use ALONE’s services picked up the phone themselves for support.”

ALONE say that there are a number of ways that the public can reach out and spend their time helping an older person this Christmas, for example; dropping in to an older person’s house for a cup of tea and a chat, ensuring they have enough food, medication and heat, bringing them to a social event and giving them a hand with their shopping.

Contact ALONE 0818 222 024 if you have concerns about your own wellbeing, or the wellbeing of a vulnerable older person in the community. For more information visit www.alone.ie