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ALONE recommends older people to engage with their local community to combat loneliness

CEO of ALONE, Sean Moynihan said that the winter of 2022 was a tough time for elderly people.

A CHARITY WHICH assists people as they age at home says that one in five people they spoke to for a survey last winter reported that they hadn’t been out socially in six months.

ALONE are focusing on the Easter festivities as an opportunity to help older people re-engage with their local communities.

Sean Moynihan, CEO for ALONE, said that the winter of 2022 was a tough time for large numbers of elderly people.

“However, Easter is a time of renewal. The days are getting longer and the message to older people is ‘please engage.’ And if people have lost that confidence to ring us and engage with us and we will support them. And then to others to include older people and to help people re engage.”

For some people Covid hasn’t gone away and all of the physical manifestations – the signs about two metres apart – are still there. There is still a lot of fear and anxiety for people who might have poor health outcomes.”

Moynihan has called on elderly people who have stopped going out to “build up their confidence” by reaching out to others.

“To go back to where they were prior to the pandemic. People want to see them there. To reach out to people like ourselves who will link them in and help them combat that anxiety. Because all the occupational therapists tell us that a huge amount of older people haven’t got emotionally our physically back to where they were.”

Moynihan says that a simple act of kindness  can help to combat the sense of isolation and loneliness that many pensioners feel. Meanwhile, ALONE  has indicated that two out of every five callers to their National Support and Referral Line in 2022 spoke of experiencing feelings of loneliness.

Moynihan says that a huge amount of energy was allocated to making sure people took the correct level of caution during the pandemic. 

“Alone believe that we now need a similar level of energy to be allocated to tackling loneliness and its worst effects on older people.

“The Government committed to developing an Action Plan to combat loneliness in the Programme for Government, the Roadmap for Social Inclusion and the Healthy Ireland strategic plan 2021-2025.

“However, the work to develop this action plan has not been started. We need the Department of Health to commit resources and expedite work on the action plan to combat loneliness among all age groups.”

The Alone National Support and Referral Line can be contacted daily on 0818 222 024 from 8am to 8pm. 

Olivia Kelleher
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