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Dublin: 12 °C Thursday 24 May, 2018
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Vincent Browne: '60,000 old people have hardly any visits from friends or family. It's awful'

Browne was speaking at the launch of Alone’s Christmas campaign for older people.

Alone's Christmas campaign
Alone's Christmas campaign
Image: Jason Clarke

VETERAN BROADCASTER VINCENT Browne has said that the lack of concern the government shows elderly people living alone is “really awful”.

In Ireland, one-third of people over the age of 65 live alone, rising to 60% for those over the age of 80. A striking one in 10 older people suffer from chronic loneliness.

“The statistics are really shocking. About 60,000 old people have hardly any visits from friends or family, which is really awful,” Browne told TheJournal.ie. 

Browne made his comments at the launch of Alone’s Christmas campaign – ‘No one should be alone this Christmas’ – which is asking people to support the charity’s work by volunteering and donating.

Alone is a charity that supports older people to age at home. It works with those who have issues with loneliness, social isolation, lack of services, poor health, poverty and homelessness. It offers a befriending service, where older people living alone are paired up with a volunteer who provides regular home visits.

Browne criticised the government and the cuts made over recent years to elderly services for the lack of support available to those alone.

“There are lots of problems across the whole area of welfare that the government is not providing adequate resources to, old people is one of them,” Browne said.

This is because of the cuts that were made by Labour in government. Again, around 60,000 old people have real problems with heating. A lot of people die of hypothermia.
To think of the misery of them living alone in terribly cold houses and apartments must be awful for them.

Browne told TheJournal.ie that “there seems to be no concern” at a government level about the lack of services available for elderly people in Ireland.

Alone at Christmas

Christmas is a particularly important time for Alone, as loneliness is heightened for those living alone during the holidays.

The charity runs a number of activities throughout the Christmas period, including a dinner dance for older people and volunteers, the delivery of hundreds of Christmas hampers to older people in need and a Christmas Day dinner delivery for a number of older people.

Sean Moynihan, CEO of Alone said: “We want older people to know that they have a right to be supported, to receive the support they need and to live in a place of their own choosing.

We will all be old one day and deserve to have supports and services in place to help us age well at home.

For those who have concerns about their own wellbeing, or the wellbeing of an older person in their community, Alone can be contacted on 01 679 1032.

Read: Robots like Stevie could allow the elderly to live in their own homes for longer

More: ‘Up to 10% of older Irish people are victims of financial abuse’

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