Ireland

Demand for older peoples’ charity services triples due to Covid-19

Alone has received 37,000 calls from older people to support line since pandemic hit

Left to right: Service user Don Johnson with Alone Christmas ambassador Kathryn Thomas and Sean Moynihan CEO of Alone at the launch of service’s Christmas Campaign in Dublin on Friday. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Left to right: Service user Don Johnson with Alone Christmas ambassador Kathryn Thomas and Sean Moynihan CEO of Alone at the launch of service’s Christmas Campaign in Dublin on Friday. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Older peoples’ charity Alone has received 37,000 calls to its national support line since the Covid-19 pandemic reached the State.

The organisation supports around 5,000 people in a normal year but has seen that figure grow to 15,000 over the last 12 months, which its chief executive Seán Moynihan said was due to the impact of the virus on older people.

In the first 12 weeks of the pandemic, people over the age of 70 were asked to cocoon and many found the social isolation difficult. Some are still cocooning as a result of Level 5 restrictions.

Alone has launched its Christmas campaign which encourages members of the public to give a helping hand to older friends, neighbours and relatives, which it says is of great need due to Covid-19.

TV presenter Kathryn Thomas is the face of this year’s launch, alongside an older person who uses Alone’s services, Don Johnson.

Ms Thomas said: “I admire the work that they do with older people and I’m so happy to be a part of such a positive message. Alone needs public support to continue providing its valuable services to older people in need all over the country.”

Targets

Alone has reached fundraising targets set for 2020, (based on figures in 2019 and estimated growth for 2020), but the demand for its services means that it needs more funding.

Mr Moynihan added: “Many older people are often embarrassed to reach out, and think that by asking for help and support they are bothering people.

“Alone want them to know that they deserve the support they require and should not be afraid to ask for help if needed.”

Earlier this month Alone began its Gratitude Campaign thanking older people, volunteers, supporters and staff for their assistance and support since the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic in Ireland.

The Gratitude Campaign features images of older people who have all been supported through an array of different services from the charity alongside images of volunteers, staff and donors.

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