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"My nieces and nephews are demanding their inheritance now"

The first six months of 2014 saw more than 12,000 calls made to the Senior Help Line.

Image: older person via shutterstock

THE FIRST SIX months of 2014 have seen more than 12,000 calls made to the Senior Help Line by older people in need of assistance.

The high number of calls is thought to be down to new challenges being faced by older people in Ireland.

The way in which older people relate to their families was cited as a central reason for the calls.

Where traditionally, families would have looked after the elderly, structures have now changed, and a distancing from older people can occur as they are seen to be an inconvenience.

Isolation and loneliness were also a factors for those getting in contact with the helpline.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie Spokesperson for Senior Help Line Anne Dempsey said:

If you are older and living on your own, fears can multiply…We have seen an increase of calls year on year, especially since the downturn. When we think of the downturn we don’t think of old people in the same way as the unemployed, but they struggle too.

Some of things said to the helpline over the six month period have included:

  • “I feel very alone in the world”
  • “I’m behind with my rent, I’ve had no food today, I don’t know where to turn and feel like ending it all”
  • “My house was broken into, and I’m very shaken up”
  • “My nieces and nephews are demanding their inheritance now”

The Senior Help Line is managed by community organisation Third Age. On the difficulties faced by older people Third Age CEO Aine Brady said:

Many older people find themselves alone and isolated. With no one to share a burden or a moment of laughter. We invite any older person who is worried about issues concerning health, family, loneliness or any other matter to call us.
Last month a new strategy was announced by Dublin City Council and Age Friendly Ireland to improve facilities for older people in the capital. These will include a network of age-friendly GP practices and a Garda with specific responsibility for older people being appointed in each station.
The contact number for The Senior Help Line is 1850 440 444.

Read: Older people driven to banks by criminals to ‘take out large sums of money’

Also: The Gardaí are set to ramp up efforts to keep the capital’s elderly safe

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