Do One Thing This Christmas...

Reach out to older people spending Christmas alone this year

Christmas reporter

Reporter:

Christmas reporter

Increase in number of elderly Offaly people living alone

ALONE, the charity that supports older people to age at home, is asking members of the public to ‘Do One Thing’ this Christmas. The charity is asking people to support older people living alone by offering friendship or support, by becoming a Befriending volunteer or by donating to ALONE. The charity is also urging older people experiencing isolation and loneliness to get in touch with them to avail of their support services.

Seán Moynihan, CEO of ALONE, commented, “1 in 12 people aged over 65 living alone never, or seldom, see family and friends. This represents 55,000 people. During Christmas and the winter period, we find that calls for support dramatically increase and loneliness is one of the main issues experienced by older people. Christmas can be a particularly isolating time for those who have no loved ones to share it with. We can all be guilty of getting caught up in the build up to Christmas as we reunite with friends and family, but it is important to remember that many older people have no friends or family to reunite with.”

ALONE say that there are a number of ways the public can help an older person this Christmas, including calling by an older persons house to say hello, ensuring they have enough food, medication and heat, inviting them out for a drive or to a social event, and giving them a hand with their shopping.

Moynihan continued, “We want older people in need of support or assistance to pick up the phone and get in touch with ALONE. We are also calling on families to talk to the older people in their lives about their needs. If families need support, they can contact ALONE. Alternatively, anyone looking to volunteer with ALONE can sign up as a Befriender.”

He concluded, “ALONE and the older people we support need help all year-round, so the donations at Christmas help us to continue supporting older people to age at home. This Christmas we are asking the public to connect with older people, provide them with the supports they need, and build a sense of community. We want to thank everyone one who has, and continues to, support us.”

At Christmas, ALONE’s activities include Christmas dinner dances for older people and volunteers, the delivery of hundreds of Christmas hampers to older people, and a special Christmas Day dinner delivery for a number of older people. ALONE’s services mean so much to the people who avail of them, as one older person commented; “ALONE and my volunteer have made such a difference in my life. I am not alone at Christmas, my birthday or throughout the year. I have people to celebrate with me. I feel like I'm part of the community.”

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. To make a donation and help aid ALONE’s work this Christmastime visit www.alone.ie