ALONE, a national organisation which enables older people in Ireland to age at home, has encouraged the public to remember older people, who are particularly vulnerable to harm during the cold weather.
As the freezing weather continued to shut roads and cause disruption across Ireland today, ALONE called for members of the public not to forget elderly neighbours and those living alone. The charity has launched its own Cold Weather Response for the older people it helps.
CEO, Seán Moynihan, said: “We are calling on members of the public to remember their older neighbours living alone and to consider their needs; the cold weather may not last very long, but it could take place on a very important day for an older person that you know.
“They may have a doctor’s appointment, need to do food shopping or visit family, the cold weather affects everyone but older people continue to need the support of their friends and community. Whether it is collecting some fuel for them or just calling to say hi, a little thought goes a long way to someone living alone or in need of assistance”.
He added: “This may be a short burst of heavy weather but it may affect some more than others and it would be great if people could offer practical support where possible to the older people in their communities”.
Back in December, ALONE launched its Winter campaign, ‘Share the Warmth’ – as it shared how it has seen a sharp increase in demand for its services, with the number of older people living alone and/or living in poverty in Ireland continuing to rise.
The charity says that older people are among the most at risk from the implications of soaring energy costs, rising food prices and poorly insulated housing. Moreover, older people during the pandemic reported a decline in their mental health and suffering from loneliness.
ALONE also noted that the number of older people living in poverty or at risk of poverty is over 100,000. The charity pointed to a RED C Poll conducted in October last year, which found that 80 per cent of people planned to keep their heating off at times even in cold weather.
Met Eireann weather forecaster Joanna Donnelly supported and launched the organisation’s Christmas Campaign, and encouraged members of the public to take a few minutes out of their day to interact with their older neighbours and relatives who may be experiencing feelings of loneliness.
The charity is now calling on the public to be mindful of older people who may be in need of support. The charity has advised older people to heat their homes during the cold spell, salt their paths to avoid a fall, and take caution when travelling.
Anyone who is in need of support can call ALONE’s National Support and Referral Line at 0818 222 024 which is open from 8am to 8pm daily.