ALONE, the organisation that supports older people, has extended the opening hours of its helpline due to increased calls for support during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The support line, which is running in collaboration with the Department of Health and the HSE, will also be open on St Patrick’s Day.
The charity is now running the helpline seven days a week to help the hundreds of older persons who are looking for support and reassurance. The daily number of phone calls is expected to increase further as Department of Health advice to older people and vulnerable groups to reduce their contacts outside their home is implemented by older people in the community.
Older people who need advice or support are invited to call their support line, 0818 222 024 from 8am-8pm, seven days a week.
The service is available to all older people including those who have not used ALONE’s services previously. The support line is to complement the clinical advice and information being provided by the HSE through its website and helpline. Older people who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 are advised to call their GP.
“Every person has a responsibility to those who are vulnerable in their communities. Every decision, big and small, matters and can have an impact on the people around you. It is vital that the community pulls together now and that everyone plays their part to ensure older people and those who are most vulnerable are supported,” said ALONE CEO Seán Moynihan.
“Earlier in the week we were hearing from older people who needed some reassurance and who were feeling anxious about the outbreak. Now, and particularly over the weekend, we have been receiving increasing numbers of calls from older people who are self-isolating and who require support with getting their groceries, prescriptions and fuel, which we are providing with the help of our volunteers.”
“We are encouraging older people who need support to get in touch with ALONE by calling 0818 222 024, and we will provide the support they need, ourselves and with our partner organisations. We are working with the HSE, the Department of Health, the Department of Rural and Community Development, Pobal, Rural Link, Volunteer Ireland, The Wheel, and more partner organisations to ensure older people have access to the support they need no matter where they are in the country.”
ALONE has also issued an appeal to families, neighbours and friends of older people who may be vulnerable to get in touch with the older person they know by phone to share the support line details and to offer their own support to their families and neighbours.
Contact ALONE on 0818 222 024 if you have concerns about your own wellbeing, or the wellbeing of an older person you know. Further information can be found on www.alone.ie.