Many older people struggling with loneliness

COVID-19 has had big impact on mental health
  • Deborah Condon

Members of the public are being urged to reach out to older people in their lives who may struggling with feelings of isolation due to COVID-19 restrictions.

ALONE, the organisation which supports older people, has expressed its concern about the negative impact that loneliness and isolation is having on the mental health of older people during the pandemic.

The organisation has received around 32,000 calls for support since March and it has recorded an increase in the number of callers reporting negative emotions over the last six months that are directly related to prolonged periods of cocooning and limited social contact.

"We are receiving a huge number of phone calls from older people who are feeling lonely and isolated having now spent six months limiting their social contact in their homes, and we believe this will become more difficult as we move into the winter months.

"We also believe the long-term mental health impacts of loneliness will continue to affect older people long after the pandemic has passed," commented ALONE chief executive, Seán Moynihan.

He called on members of the public to keep in touch with their older relatives, neighbours and friends, who may be struggling.

"So far, the level of support we have seen from communities across the country has been phenomenal, and we hope this will continue.

"We are also encouraging any older person who is experiencing loneliness to get in touch with us. Our volunteers are continuing to provide telephone support for older people and are making regular phone calls for reassurance and social support," Mr Moynihan said.

ALONE is encouraging older people who need advice or support to call its support line, 0818 222 024, from 8am-8pm, seven days a week. The support line, which is running in collaboration with the Department of Health and the HSE, is available to all older people, including those who have not previously used ALONE's services.


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