Ring launches initiative to phone older people and check on their wellbeing during COVID-19 crisis

Michael Ring TD, the Minister for Rural and Community Development, has announced a new befriending phone-call initiative to support participants of the Seniors Alert Scheme, which is being funded by the Department of Rural and Community Development.

The initiative will allow older people to receive a regular phone call to check on their wellbeing and needs during the current COVID-19 emergency. The befriending scheme will be operated in conjunction with POBAL and ALONE and could benefit more than 2,000 people in Mayo.

Minister Ring is using his Department’s Seniors Alert Scheme, which provides monitored alarms for older people in their homes, to enable this initiative. The initiative aims to provide peace of mind and local assistance to older people, of whom more than 80,000 are registered on the Seniors Alert Scheme.

The new befriending initiative requires users to test their alarms to ensure that they are still active. Monitoring providers or local community groups operating the Senior Alerts Scheme service will contact the user.

A total of 2,294 older people in Mayo are registered on the Seniors Alert Scheme and Minister Ring has urged each of them to ensure that their personal alarm is activated.

Once the user tests their alarm, they will be called back and asked if they would like to avail of a befriending call service through ALONE, and either the number of ALONE is given to the participant, or their consent is sought for ALONE to be provided with their contact details to be included in the befriending service.

Minister Ring has urged older people who have the personalised alarms to ensure they are activated. He said: "Now is the time to make sure your alarm is working, and contact your local community organisation if you have any concerns. This initiative is an example of how we are adapting the way we work and using all tools at our disposal to ensure that everyone feels supported and connected at this time.

"ALONE, POBAL and the Seniors Alert Scheme monitoring providers will deliver this service and the 670 registered groups will play a vital role in connecting participants to this service, as they are the groups that know their communities best.

"I would also take this opportunity to remind everyone that volunteering should be done in a safe way so that neither volunteers nor those in need are put at risk, and to always follow the latest HSE guidelines.

"This befriending initiative complements the measures taken in the COVID-19 Action Plan to Support the Community Response, and I will commit additional resources as necessary to ensuring the success of the scheme.”

The ALONE Helpline can also be contacted on 0818 222 024 if you have concerns about your own wellbeing, or the wellbeing of an older person you know.


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