Growth and Integration: ALONE reflects on a memorable 2021 with the publishing of its Annual Report.
Dublin, 20th October: ALONE the charity that supports older people in Ireland launched its annual report today. The report comes after a challenging 2021 which saw ALONE interact with the largest number of older people in its history. It has grown as an organisation, but this is due to the increased demand for its services. Alarmingly today over 100,000 older people still live in poverty or at risk of poverty and there over 120,000 more people over the age of 55 experiencing loneliness in the last 3 years.
ALONE continues to assist older people across Ireland through its Support Coordination model with befriending supports, telephone supports, training on digital literacy, assistive technology, social prescription and housing supports.
2021 was a unique year for all that started with COVID 19 restrictions still place and then dealt with the challenges of a society opening up. This opening up period was challenging for a lot of older people as the tide of community supports receded for some leaving massive amounts of loneliness especially among our older people who had been required to shelter away for their own protection.
The theme of the report is very much Growth and Integration, focusing on an increase in older people we worked with through our great volunteers and staff. The summary below highlights some of the major achievements made:
We supported 9,178 unique older persons
20,908 calls were made to our National Support and Referral line
165,740 calls were made to older people by ALONE
60,794 visits by our volunteers to the older people we support, providing practical supports and social prescription
We had 3,811 volunteers supporting our services, an increase of 30% on 2020’s figure
Volunteers gave 121,588 hours of valued support to our older persons
ALONE trained and subsequently added 967 new volunteers to our frontline services
We matched 724 volunteers with older people
Made 3,846 recorded check-ins/interactions with tenants
On Christmas Day week, ALONE identified 700 older people in need of Christmas dinner and working with our community, everyone got a Christmas Dinner delivered.
ALONE’s Technology Engagement Team supported 485 older people with technology
524 assistive technology devices were distributed across the country
95 training sessions were delivered to our Community Impact Network
Upon release of the report ALONE CEO Seán Moynihan commented, “The report shows us that we are on course to meet our challenging targets set out in our Strategic Plan. The way we have done and will do that is by continuing to grow as a national organisation and integrate our services together as demand grows for our work across Ireland. This is made possible by the selfless work of so many volunteers, staff, partner organisations and supporters of which I am very grateful and proud.”
He went on to say “…as we approach difficult economic times, we as an organisation, the NGO sector, and the rest of the country must continue to evolve our attitudes and solutions to the outstanding questions that still face growing old in Ireland. I believe that ALONE is better positioned than ever to continue the fight to grow old at home with dignity, and to secure the necessary policy changes that will allow future generations to do the same. We must never stop looking for new and innovative ways of solving long-lasting problems as well as those new challenges that present in an uncertain world.”
ALONE Chairperson Joe Sheehy stated, “After 2020, we felt as though the pandemic was more predictable during 2021, and thanks to the work done in 2020, ALONE was much better equipped to work through the pandemic and provide quality research and support to our older people. ALONE has continued to respond rapidly during 2021 with the continued delivery of our vision, we hope to continue to do so as we look to continue to help older people through the aftermath of the pandemic as well as uncertain economic times that undoubtedly lie ahead.”
ALONE is also encouraging anyone to contact us to refer an older person or to get some support for themselves on our National Support & Referral line 0818 222 024. This is going to be a hard winter but there are supports that ALONE & partners can help with to get through it together.
ALONE released a short video to mark the launch today also.