Age Action is urging the general public to visit older neighbours this Christmas, especially those living alone.
Christmas can be a difficult time for some older people, especially those living alone, those whose families have emigrated, the bereaved, and those who may be house-bound.
“One-in-three older people in Ireland live alone and many may appreciate a visit over the holiday period,” Age Action spokesman Eamon Timmins said.
“The emphasis at this time of the year on family and socialising makes it even more difficult for some older people, for whom loneliness and isolation is a problem all year round. But it poses specific challenges for people who are dependent on home helps, meals-on-wheels and other community supports, as many of these services are temporarily suspended over the Christmas period to enable staff take holidays.”
Age Action is urging the general public to make time to call on older neighbours, especially those living alone, those living in remote areas and those who do not have family living locally.
Older people who do not drive may appreciate an offer to pick up groceries, fuel or medication. “We would also encourage groups which are organising social events in communities to consider offering lifts to older neighbours to enable them participate and join in the fun,” Mr Timmins said.
If the weather becomes particularly cold or stormy over the holiday period, such visits could prevent older people getting into difficulty should they run out of vital supplies.
Finally, Age Action would like to thank the public for their support during 2016, by supporting its charity shops and other fundraising activities. It is also deeply grateful to its volunteers whose dedication has enabled the charity improve the lives of thousands of older people during the year.