Loneliness is taking an increasing toll on older people in society, according to a report from a Mullingar-based advocacy group for older people.
Some 25 per cent of calls to the Senior Help Line centre in Mullingar are related to health concerns, while 24 per cent are related to loneliness, according to statistics compiled by the charity from the last quarter of 2012. A range of issues from rural isolation to depression were the main motivations for older people availing of the service.
Senior Help Line provides a confidential listening service for older people by trained older volunteers for the price of a local call anywhere in Ireland. The purpose of the service is for older people to receive an empathic response on a variety of issues. The service is confidential; however Senior Help Line has identified particular trends in the calls that they received in the final quarter of last year.
“Many callers to our Mullingar office are older people living alone. Some callers can go for days without contact from other people. That kind of isolation can be terribly cruel and can have a detrimental effect on a person’s wellbeing,” said Mary Nally of Senior Help Line.
“Whatever the reason for calling, it is important that people have an outlet to talk to people when they need it. We urge any older person who is worried about issues concerning health, family, loneliness, or any other matter to call us on 1850 440 444. Calls cost no more than a one-minute call from a mobile or landline.”