Public urged to check on elderly this winter

ALONE launches cold weather campaign
  • Deborah Condon

Members of the public are being urged to check in on older people in their community this winter.

ALONE, the organisation that supports older people to age at home, has launched its cold weather campaign, in association with Dublin City Council, the Gardai, Dublin Fire Brigade and StayWell Pharmacies.

According to ALONE chief executive, Sean Moynihan, colder temperatures can have a "serious impact on the health and safety of older people".

"Ireland has among the highest levels of excess winter mortality in Europe. We regularly work with older people who don't have central heating, live in challenging housing conditions, and even people who have used their free travel and stayed on buses and trains during the day to keep warm.

"It's really important that we reach out to people who may be finding things difficult due to ill health, financial worries, or housing difficulties. We hope that by spreading this message and by reaching out, more people will stay safe and well this winter," Mr Moynihan said.

According to research by the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA), around 10% of older people have problems heating their homes and almost 50% have problems with damp, mould or mildew.

Speaking at the launch of the campaign, Dublin Lord Mayor, Paul McAuliffe, emphasised that the colder winter months can be a difficult time for people who may be feeling vulnerable or isolated.

"We are appealing to all Dubliners and indeed people across the country to be mindful of older people in our communities who may live alone or be at risk of struggling with loneliness, health difficulties or fuel poverty.

"This campaign represents the community and the whole city working together to make a difference in the lives of older people, many of whom face worries about warmth, shelter and essentials, such as food and medication, at this time of year," he said.

As part of this campaign, ALONE has partnered with StayWell pharmacies and is calling on anyone who wants to support older people this winter to donate new hot water bottles, blankets, gloves, slippers and other helpful items to donation boxes in pharmacies nationwide.

Items can also be donated directly to ALONE and these will be distributed to those who need them.

The organisation is also urging older people to prioritise their spending on heating during the winter months. It has staff who are ready to act on requests for assistance and it can advise on issues relating to food, heat, utilities and medication.

"We encourage anyone who may be concerned about their own wellbeing or someone else's to reach out for assistance from ALONE if needed. We want people to know that ALONE is here to help with any problems they may have this winter, from housing conditions to loneliness," Mr Moynihan said.

For more information on ALONE, click here.




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