ALONE, the charity that helps older people to age at home, launched its Christmas campaign ‘Share Your Warmth’ with Dr. Maureen Gaffney, Author and Psychologist, Joan Finglas, an older person with ALONE and volunteer Laura Browne.
The campaign is asking the public to share their warmth this Christmas: the warmth of friendship and time, as well as financial support, so that the organisation can help older people struggling with the increasing cost of living and the growing levels of loneliness across Ireland.
The charity has continued to see a sharp increase in demand for its services as the number of older people experiencing hardship continues to rise. 1 in 5 over 65’s are living in poverty today, unseen behind a closed door mostly. Since the start of 2023 ALONE has provided 30,000 individual supports to older people, in every town and city in Ireland, a huge increase on last year.
Dr. Maureen Gaffney launched the organisation’s Christmas campaign to encourage 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 as the festive season approaches.
She commented, “Loneliness is not just a problem for the individual – it has wider social implications because loneliness is contagious. Too many clusters of lonely people and the contagion ripples out to the wider society. So reach out today to somebody in your wider family, social circle or neighbourhood whom that you suspect might be lonely. On the run-up to Christmas, before you get too busy, give them a call just for a chat– if you find that they are actually fine, nothing lost. It’s an act of connection and every connection counts.”
Alone CEO Seán Moynihan said “We are looking for people to respond to our call to action to help us help older people who need our services. This can be done by volunteering your time, spreading the word, or making a donation. We do not want anyone to be alone or struggling this Christmas. You can be the difference and help to Share your Warmth.”
The charity has received more than 10,000 calls to their National Support & Referral Line (NSRL) so far this year. Calls to the NSRL are from older people experiencing difficulties Housing, Isolation & Loneliness, Mental health, Finances and much more. 7 in 10 people that contact Alone are experiencing loneliness.
Moynihan continued, “We have had to continue to grow our services in response to an ever-growing demand. We are urging everyone to be mindful of older people across the country this winter.
Older people can be particularly susceptible to loneliness. We are seeing that loneliness consistently ranks as Alone’s number one support issue, and it has a severe impact on our physical and mental health. This Christmas, Alone want people around the country to work together to ease the isolation and loneliness being experienced by so many.
Alone will once again deliver Christmas hampers and Christmas Dinners to older people across Ireland. Last year, Alone delivered over 1,000 dinners on Christmas day, numbers that the charity hopes to top once again this winter for those in need.
If you or someone you know needs support this Winter, please call the National Support and Referral Line on 0818 222 024 from 8am – 8pm, seven days a week. ALONE operates 365 days a year so we will be there to take your call when you need us most.
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