THE CHARITY FOR older people, Third Age, has said there has been a rise recently in the number of calls to its helpline.
Anne Dempsey, Head of Communications at Third Age told TheJournal.ie that last year the Senior Helpline received some 10,000 calls from older people and the charity expects to have about 15,000 calls this year.
Following recent attacks on elderly people during burglaries, Dempsey said there has been an increase in calls from elderly people who are concerned about their safety.
“There has definitely been a marked increased recently and there’s definitely more fear and general concern,” she said.
“People who themselves were burgled have called to talk about the impact it had on them and how difficult it is for them to stay living at home.”
Last month 67-year-old Eugene Gillespie died following an aggravated assault at his home in Sligo and in June five elderly people were assaulted during two separate burglaries in Limerick and Galway.
“We’re asking people to look out for older people in their community and family members and don’t assume someone else is doing it” Dempsey said. “We would also be encouraging older people to be more open and not to isolate themselves”.
Gerald Scully of Age Action Ireland said assaults on elderly people can have a “devastating effect if the older person survives the attack.”
“When this sort of thing happens lots of people do look at their own situation and can feel very vulnerable”, he said.
Scully said there are no grants available for house alarms for older people and there has been a cutback on funding for other types of security like lights.
“We do get calls from people looking for security alarms and asking about grants,” he said. “It’s really a sign of the times”.