DUBLIN CITY COUNCILLOR Vincent Jackson has urged people around the country to check in on their elderly neighbours, particularly during the holidays when many older people may be isolated.
An elderly man in Jackson’s constituency was found dead in his house this morning, several days after he died.
Speaking to TheJournal.ie Jackson said it is “incredibly sad” and that it is imperative that people take note of the elderly people in their communities.
“Just yesterday we had a dinner for around 60 elderly people and we also have a senior citizens line people can register with and they get a call every morning to make sure everything is alright and see if they need anything,” he said.
The Dublin councillor said that it is especially important in the winter during times of extreme weather that people are vigilant and look out for elderly people living around them who may be stuck in their homes.
“Back when we had that bad snow a couple of years ago there were some older people living a few doors away and I went out and got bread and milk for them, things like that,” Jackson said. “Their own families are very good to them but if they live far away and if the weather is bad it’s hard to get to them.”
“When the weather is bad like that there’s an onus on us to say to people “is there anything you need?” and they may never ask for anything but knowing that the support is there makes all the difference,” he said.
“I know people are very busy but we have to make sure we don’t lose all sense of humanity,” he added.
Jackson said some older people can be suspicious of everybody and don’t ask anyone for help when they may need it.
“Not a month goes by that you don’t hear of another scam so it’s understandable that they’re wary but things like the senior citizens line aren’t intrusive, just one call a day to check that the person is alright.”
Jackson said the reduction of community staff on the ground due to cuts in the council budget has put people working with the elderly in the community under pressure.
“I think people really underestimate the huge difference the staff on the ground make in those people’s lives, helping them get invaluable social interaction and keep up links with the community,” he added.