Thursday, May 21, 2020

Three quarters of those who have called the ALONE helpline in the past week are living alone.ALONE, the organisation that supports older people, has received over 20,000 phone calls (nationwide) through its Covid-19 helpline which it launched in March.

According to ALONE Chief Executive Seán Moynihan. “In recent weeks we have seen increasing numbers of phone calls from older people experiencing difficulties with their physical and mental wellbeing as cocooning measures continue. Older people and particularly those who are medically and socially vulnerable should be aware that support is available, whether that is for Covid-19 information, or support with finance, housing, or other difficulties.”

The organisation is running a national helpline for older people as part of the Community Call campaign, in collaboration with Waterford City & County Council, the Department of Health and the HSE.

In turn, ALONE’s team of staff and volunteers has made almost 72,000 calls to older people throughout Ireland who have sought support during the public health emergency: three quarters of those who have called the line in the past week are living alone.

With this in mind, ALONE is encouraging relatives, communities and neighbours to remain supportive to older people and, as Seán Moynihan put it, to “remind older people that although we may be apart, that does not mean that they are alone”.

He added: “While we welcomed the news last week that cocooning measures would be relaxed slightly and that older people would be able to leave their homes to exercise, our communities continue to play a vital role in supporting older people at this time.”

The organisation has noted an increase in calls regarding non-Covid related hospital visits, such as injuries related to falls. Mr Moynihan is concerned that some older people are unsure about whether to seek needed medical attention for fear of contracting Covid-19 at a GP appointment or in hospital.

“As the pandemic continues, we are starting to see the long-term impact that COVID-19 will have on the health and wellbeing of older people. We are asking members of the public to stay in touch with the older people in their communities and to provide support if needed.”

Seán Moynihan 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.”

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