The organisation is reminding members of the public to maintain contact with older people in the community
ALONE, the organisation that supports older people to age at home, has called on members of the public to continue supporting their older friends, neighbours and relatives who may be finding things difficult as we reach the halfway mark of Level 5 restrictions.
While ALONE understands the necessity of the current restrictions to safeguard older and vulnerable individuals, the organisation has expressed concern regarding the long-term impacts of cocooning and social distancing on older people’s mental and physical health. Many older people have had to deal with loneliness, social isolation and anxiety as they withdrew from society to protect themselves from the virus. The organisation is urging older people to try and stay positive as the country faces into a further three weeks of Level 5 restrictions ahead of the Christmas season.
ALONE CEO Seán Moynihan stated, “The level of support we have seen from members of the public so far under Level 5 restrictions has been amazing, and we hope to keep this momentum up into the next stages of the Plan for Living with COVID-19. 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; 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.”
ALONE is encouraging older people to keep to a routine, stay active and exercise outside during daylight hours where possible, however the organisation has also urged them to be careful while out walking. Long periods of physical inactivity may result in deconditioning and loss of muscle mass, resulting in an increased fall risk among older people. Each year, one in every three adults age 65 and older falls, mostly at home, and falls are the leading cause of injury, disability and admission to nursing homes for this group.
Moynihan commented, “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 take things slowly while exercising, take rest breaks if needed and to take their walks on well lit, even paths.”
ALONE is encouraging older people who need advice or support to call their support line, 0818 222 024 from 8am-8pm, seven days a week. The support line, which is running 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. The support line is designed to complement the clinical advice and information being provided by the HSE through its website and helpline.
Contact ALONE 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.