ALONE have launched a COVID-19 support line, which is available to all older people including those that have never used their services before. Supporting the clinical advice and information being provided by the HSE, ALONE’s support line is available at 0818 222 024 from 8am-8pm, seven days a week.
The ALONE helpline offers advice and support for COVID-19 and other issues that are arising for older people at this time, including difficulties in relation to physical and mental health, loneliness, isolation, finance, safety, and housing. As well as ongoing telephone support, volunteers are also collecting and delivering prescriptions, groceries or other necessary items for the older people. ALONE’s network of support is constantly expanding and evolving to meet the needs of older people throughout Ireland.
They are working in collaboration with Local Authorities and the Local Authority Community Response Forum providing practical supports to older and medically vulnerable people. ALONE’s support line has become the leading national number for ‘Community Call’, an initiative that links local and national Government with the community and voluntary sectors to provide support to older people and those who are at risk at this time. The partnership is crucial in mobilising a rapid response in every county to make sure everyone is looked after.
ALONE have since launched a dedicated referral line for professionals including Home Care Providers, Local Authorities, Local Development Companies, Hospitals, Primary Care, the HSE, GP’s, members of PPN’s and other community services, including pharmacy staff. This referral pathway is operational seven days a week, Monday – Friday 8am – 8pm, Saturday – Sunday 9am – 5pm by calling 01 223 3632. This number is specifically for professionals who wish to make a referral including your own staff, and all older people should continue to phone ALONE’s national support line number at 0818 222 024.
As family members, neighbours and communities return to work, there may be a reduction in supports available to those who are at risk. ALONE has highlighted that physical and mental health difficulties are causing increased challenges for older people, with many calling ALONE’s helpline to say they have fallen or are experiencing illness or pain, but do not want to go to GP surgeries or A&E due to anxiety around contracting COVID-19. Lack of access to chiropody and other services are having a direct impact on people’s ability to leave their home for exercise safely, and many callers indicate deconditioning and point to increasing frailty as a result of cocooning. ALONE have also noted a continuing increase in the number of older people expressing very low mood due to cocooning.
It is not yet know what the full impact of cocooning will have on our older people of Ireland, who are medically and socially vulnerable. So we are encouraging all older people experiencing difficulties to please seek help and for younger people to seek supports for older relatives and neighbours that Alone are offering. For more information visit https://alone.ie/