People are being encouraged to spend time with their elderly neighbours this winter, and to ensure that they have enough essential items, groceries, and fuel.
Older person’s charity Alone, the Gardaí, and Dublin Fire Brigade are urging members of the public to check in on older people in their community this winter.
Ardmhéara Mícheál Mac Donncha says that the winter months can be a difficult time for many people who may feel vulnerable, alone and isolated.
“It can be a very frightening experience to be without shelter, warmth, food or essential items such as medication,” he says.
“We are appealing to all to look out for the older people in your community who may live alone, have no family or may be at risk of suffering from fuel poverty, illness or loneliness. This campaign represents the community working together.”
In 2012, 5% of Irish people over the age of 65 who lived alone were unable to keep their homes adequately warm. This rose to 10% in 2013.
Seán Moynihan, CEO of ALONE commented, “Cold temperatures can have a serious affect on many older people, in particular those living alone, those with health issues, and those with limited mobility.
“Given that 50% of Excess Winter Deaths (EWDs) experienced in Ireland can be linked to poor thermal efficiency in the dwellings, ALONE is urging older people to take extra care and encouraging those who are concerned about their own wellbeing during the cold weather to call for assistance and help if needed.”
Alone are encouraging older people to prioritize their spending on heating during the winter months. For those who are struggling to keep up with utilities bills, you can reach out to your utilities company to set up a payment plan.
ALONE has volunteers and staff ready to act on requests for assistance and can advise on issues relating to food, heat, or medication. Further information, including advice and tips for older people in cold weather conditions, can be found on www.alone.ie.
For those who have concerns about their own wellbeing, or the wellbeing of a vulnerable older person in the community, ALONE can be contacted on (01) 679 1032 or visit www.alone.ie.
So why not pop in for tea, check they have milk and bread, or offer to grab a bucket of turf? These small gestures will be very much appreciated by your neighbours.