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Older persons' charity reports 50 per cent surge in demand

ALONE says the increasing number calls to its service, which is not funded by the State, is a constant strain on its resources.

Image: Elizabeth/Table4Five via Flickr

A CHARITY offering support to older persons in need has reported a 50 per cent increase in demand for its service in 2010 – which is says is putting a consistent strain on its resources.

ALONE’s annual report says the charity has regularly observed older people living in sub-standard housing conditions, suffering with physical ill-health and disability, and mental health problems.

Those issues are exacerbated by the number of older people in debt or poverty, who are now struggling to make ends meet due to reducing state payments.

“On any average day our small number of staff and dedicated volunteers provide direct services to 330 older people in need,” the charity chief executive Seán Moynihan said.

ALONE works with the one in ten of older people classed as vulnerable, and our resources are fully stretched as a result of a significant increase in demand for services.

The annual report for 2010 also highlights the challenges faced by Ireland’s older people as a result of reductions in State services and in general spending cutbacks.

“Every day we face the reality that there are a significant number of older people living on the State pension,” Moynihan said, “who are reliant on social transfers which are reducing and leaving them in poverty and in need of our assistance.”

“We are concerned about the possibility of continued cutbacks impacting older people, in particular where they are applied as blanket measures without regard for the personal circumstances of indivduals already in need.”

The charity does not receive any government funding for its day-to-day operations. Its annual report in full can be found at its website.

Column: This is no country for old men and women – but it could be >

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Gavan Reilly

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