Keep supporting older people - ALONE

Some more lonely and anxious in level 5
  • Deborah Condon

Members of the public are being urged to continue to support older people in the community, who may be struggling with level 5 COVID restrictions.

ALONE, the organisation that supports older people to age at home, has said that the support that has been shown to older people so far has been "amazing", and it wants to keep this momentum going.

It emphasised that while it understands why the current restrictions are needed, it is concerned about the long-term impact of cocooning and social distancing on older people's physical and mental health.

As a result of these public health measures, some older people have had to essentially withdraw from society and this has led to increased levels of social isolation, loneliness and anxiety.

"Since March, the situation with COVID-19 has been difficult for all of us, but unfortunately older people are among the groups most affected by the onset of the pandemic.

"As of this week, we are currently halfway through six weeks of level 5 restrictions and we are reminding older people that there is light at the end of the tunnel, and that if we all continue to follow the guidelines to keep each other safe, we will get through the next three weeks together," commented ALONE chief executive, Sean Moynihan.

The organisation is encouraging older people to stick to a routine and stay active, which should include where possible, exercising outside in daylight hours if it safe to do so.

However, it also reminded older people to be particularly careful if outdoors as "long periods of physical inactivity may result in deconditioning and loss of muscle mass, resulting in an increased fall risk among older people".

"While we advise older people to get out and about during the day, we would like to remind them to take extra care when out walking to reduce the risk of a trip or a fall.

"Since March, we have been receiving calls from people telling us they are apprehensive to go outside their homes for fear of falling. We would advise older people to take things slowly while exercising, take rest breaks if needed and to take their walks on well lit, even paths," Mr Moynihan said.

ALONE is reminding older people who need advice or support to call its support line on 0818 222 024, which is open from 8am-8pm, seven days a week.

The support line, which is run in collaboration with the Department of Health and the HSE, is available to all older people including those who have not used ALONE's services previously.

For more information on ALONE, click here.


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