ALONE forge new partnerships to help more elderly during this national crisis

Michaela O'Dea

Reporter:

Michaela O'Dea

ALONE  forge new partnerships to help more elderly during this national crisis

Elderly charity ALONE

ALONE has announced new partnerships to provide support and assistance to older people during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Along with Dublin County Council, Pobal and the Dublin City Age Friendly Alliance, these partner organisations will be working together to align with the sector, streamline requests for help, and ensure that vulnerable older people across the country receive the support and assistance that they need.

ALONE currently operates a national support line for older people that was set up in collaboration with the HSE and the Department of Health. The line is active from 8am to 8pm seven days a week, and has received more than 3,300 calls to date.

Commenting on the partnership the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Tom Brabazon, stated that “while we find ourselves in an unprecedented situation with the COVID-19 pandemic, it is vital that we look after the members of society who are most at risk. The reality for a lot of elderly people in this situation is that they are too scared to go outside in case they come into contact with a carrier of the disease and fall ill with the virus. By working together, we can ensure that when these older people call the support line they are given the advice and help that they need by a trained staff member.”

The support line is to be a single point of contact from which all requests can be assessed and processed appropriately. This will be achieved by bringing together An Garda Síochána, community partners, volunteers and Dublin City Council to provide a national response and create a model that other groups and local authorities can replicate.

Seán Moynihan, CEO of ALONE noted that “the main requests that our phone operators are getting at the moment are for information and daily contact but as we move to the next phase there is increasing demand for deliveries of food, medication and fuel, which are things that most people take for granted."

The organisation hopes that this new partnership will ensure increased levels of support and availability for elderly people. Many elderly people are self isolating during this time as a precautionary measure, with some being afraid to leave their homes to procure essential items. 

ALONE are working to add other local authorities to this partnership. Several other County Councils have indicated their interest and it is hoped that this partnership can provide a model of how the community and voluntary sector can work together with the local authorities throughout this crisis.