ALONE responds positively to updated Programme for Government  

ALONE, the organisation which supports older people, has responded to the updated Programme for Government document released earlier today. The organisation was pleased to see that the Programme for Government contained significantly more references to older people than previous documents, including policies on the right to home care, the commitment to Sláintecare and positive housing options for older people.

While ALONE has welcomed certain aspects of the document, the organisation was disappointed at the lack of reference to the issue of loneliness among older people, as this is an issue that affects a huge number of older people. The organisation have also urged the incoming Government to appoint a Minister of State for Older People within the Department of the Taoiseach, and a Commissioner for Older People and Demographic Change who would oversee and deliver the implementation of the National Positive Ageing Strategy.

The organisation has put forward four asks for the incoming Government, and believes that these issues must be addressed as a matter of urgency to improve the quality of life for many older people across the country. The organisation would like to see funding for home supports and health services which would allow older people to age safely at home as well as housing targets and supports for older to prevent a worsening housing crisis.

ALONE CEO Seán Moynihan stated “We are very supportive of the policies outlined in this document and we are willing to play our part to implement real change for older people in the coming weeks and months. The document contains a lot of restatement of the policies and practices that we have been campaigning for over many years.  Now is the time for actions, not words; COVID-19 has taught us that we can implement policies quickly, we are pleased to see that much of what is listed in the document can be implemented. There is still work to be done to improve the quality of life for older people across the country. The lack of reference to older people in previous Government formation documents was a cause of huge concern for us. Therefore, we were pleased to see a number of important issues addressed in the document, such the introduction of a commission to examine care and supports for older people, the right to home care and housing supports, and the commitment to the Sláintecare Implementation Plan.”

He continued, “We look forward to working with the incoming Government to tackle these challenges, and we hope that a Minister for Older People will be appointed. Older people have struggled the most with the outbreak of COVID-19 and it is the duty of the incoming Government to ensure that they are supported to deal with its aftermath.  We must ensure that the needs of older people are prioritised, and that the incoming Minister for Mental Health and Older People has a strong voice in designing and influencing policy as we move into the later phases of the COVID-19 Roadmap.”

ALONE are also have also reminded older people that their services are to be available to any older person who needs advice or support during this time.

“I would like to remind any older person that is struggling at the moment that supports are available to them through ALONE and Local Authorities across the country. If you are struggling at all over the coming weeks and months, please do not hesitate to reach out and seek help.” said Moynihan.

Since March, ALONE’s Support Line has received in excess of 23,833 calls for support. ALONE staff and volunteers have made more than 102,753 calls to older people who needed support, and provided more than 15,400 units of practical support, including collecting groceries and prescriptions. ALONE is providing ongoing support to more than 12,616 older people who require support for difficulties with loneliness, health, finance, housing, accessing services, COVID-19 and other challenges.

ALONE is encouraging older people who need advice to call ALONE on, 0818 222 024 from 8am-8pm, seven days a week. 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.

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