This Easter, we need help to allow older people get back out there post pandemic but we need a Government Strategy for Loneliness.
• 70% of older people that ALONE assessed in Q4 of 2022 reported feeling lonely. • 1 in 10 of these older people haven’t been out socially in at least 1 year. • 1 in 5 haven’t been out socially in the last 6 months. • 5% of adults over 60 have lost a family member or friend due to COVID.
Dublin, April 6th : ALONE, the charity that helps people age at home, is taking the Easter
festivities as an opportunity to help older people re-engage with their local communities.
Older people we work with are continuing to isolate themselves due to lingering fears and
anxiety relating to the pandemic with 70% of older people ALONE supports reporting feeling
Seán Moynihan, CEO of ALONE, said: “Easter is a time for renewal, hope and connection. It’s
important that we remember older people who may be still feeling lonely or isolated,
particularly as they may be fearful to re-engage with their communities after the pandemic.
A simple act of kindness can make a huge difference to someone’s day and can help to combat
the sense of isolation and loneliness that many older people feel.”
70% of older people supported by ALONE at the end of last year felt lonely, and one in five of
them had not been out socially for at least six months. Loneliness among older people has
been accentuated by the pandemic, coupled with fears around health and safety. 2 out of
every 5 calls to ALONE’s National Support and Referral Line in 2022 were regarding loneliness.
Loneliness had adversely affected older people for a long time before and during the
pandemic which ALONE helps combat with the support of over 5,000 volunteers and it
supported over 16,000 of older people last year. ALONE co-founded the Loneliness Taskforce
an alliance of organisations across all ages to combat the issue.
But acute loneliness among older people is not going to fix itself. What is needed now more
than ever is for the Government to create and fully resource a strategy to combat loneliness
among older people. A huge amount of energy was allocated to making sure people took the
correct level of caution during the pandemic, ALONE believe that we now need a similar level
of energy to be allocated to tackling loneliness and its worst effects on older people.
Mr. Moynihan went on to say, “Government committed to developing an Action Plan to
combat loneliness in the Programme for Government, the Roadmap for Social Inclusion and
the Healthy Ireland strategic plan 2021-2025. However, the work to develop this action plan
has not been started. We need the Department of Health to commit resources and expedite
work on the action plan to combat loneliness among all age groups.”
It is also important for Government and councils to help older people take on this task by:
• Remove unnecessary signage that was put up at the start of the pandemic in the
community such as in social and commercial settings, to let older people know that
they are safe.
• Signposting and linking older people in with the supports that are available to them,
for example we know that there are still day care centres which have not fully
reopened in the aftermath of the pandemic.
• The Department of Health should commit resources and expedite work on the action
plan to combat loneliness, as was committed to in the Programme for Government,
the Roadmap for Social Inclusion and the Healthy Ireland strategic plan 2021-2025.
He continued, “This weekend is usually celebrated among families, children, and friends. We
hope that people use the festivities as an opportunity to gather. Many older people took the
appropriate level of caution during the pandemic, but we know that many are still reluctant
to come back to socialising. Vaccinations and booster jabs have worked in significantly
reducing the risk of becoming ill from COVID-19, and we hope that older people will take full
advantage of the health benefits from their initial caution and try to get back out in the nicer
ALONE is encouraging older people to try and re-engage with their communities by:
• Starting slowly, and with old friends and connections that you feel comfortable with.
• Attending public events with people they know and are familiar with, wearing a face
mask helps if it makes you feel more comfortable.
• Getting back out there at their own pace, starting slowly, and building up over time.
• Go to clubs, events, places that are familiar or that you enjoyed going to before the
• Getting some exercise where you can like light walking especially as the weather
continues to improve.
• Call ALONE to get advice and discuss fears and anxieties that you may be facing.
• If you know older people who are struggling with re-emerging after the pandemic,
then you can refer them to ALONE for support.
If you, or an older person you know, requires ALONE’s support please call our National
Support and Referral Line at 0818 222 024 from 8am to 8pm. If you are interested in
supporting older people by becoming a volunteer, then you can visit alone.ie/volunteer for