No one deserves to be lonely at Christmas

Alone highlight isolation and loneliness this Christmas

Alone, the charity that supports older people in need, is asking everyone to share the Christmas spirit by reaching out to older members of their community who may be isolated or lonely this holiday season.

Sean Moynihan, chief executive officer of Alone, commented, “170,000 older Irish people live alone, which makes them vulnerable to isolation. This risk increases at Christmas when the nights are darker and the days are colder, making older people less inclined to leave their houses. This winter we are reminding the Irish public, to check in on their older neighbours, for a cup of tea, a quick word of kindness, or just to see if they need a lift to the shops. People are often surprised to learn that loneliness is actually a greater health risk than smoking or obesity.

“Imagine feeling unwanted and uncared for, the value of popping in and checking on an older person goes well beyond what it might seem. It means the older person feels safe, secure, and connected to the community. It also means that if they are in any danger with regards to health or safety that it is noticed in time and can be caught before it may turn into something more serious”.

Alone say that there are a number of ways that the public can help an older person this Christmas. Some of these are; calling by an older persons house to say hello, ensuring they have enough food, medication, and heat, bringing them out for a drive or to a social event and giving them a hand with their shopping.

Sean concluded, “Thankfully most older people will enjoy a happy Christmas surrounded by loved ones, but Alone is urging the general public to be vigilant for those who are vulnerable. We really hope that the public will support our campaign and our work over Christmas and take it onto themselves to ensure that older people in their community feel cared for.”

This Christmas Day, Alone’s volunteers will bring hot Christmas dinners to numerous older people living on their own. In the lead-up to Christmas Alone also hosted a social dinner dance, a vital social outlet for service users that was attended by over 130 older people. They also delivered over 500 hampers full of vital supplies to help older people who use Alone services through the Christmas period and bring a little Christmas magic back into their lives.

Alone provides a crucial befriending service to older people who are isolated, along with providing permanent housing to over 100 older people. The most vital area of service provision during the winter months is the community response service, which deals with emergency calls for assistance.

For those who have concerns about their own wellbeing, or the wellbeing of a vulnerable older person in the community, Alone can be contacted on (01 ) 679 1032. To make a donation and help aid Alone’s work this Christmastime visit www.alone.ie

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