ALONE call on public to remember older people affected by emigration this St. Patricks Day

This St. Patricks Day, ALONE, the charity that supports older people to age at home, is highlighting one of the lesser known effects of emigration. ALONE report an increase in the number of older people requiring their services as a direct result of their children and grandchildren emigrating.

The number of Irish people leaving Ireland remains high, despite improvements in the economy and a fall in unemployment. Emigration is not a new phenomenon and every generation that moves on leave a generation behind, however ALONE report that the full impact of the mass emigration from Ireland in recent years has not yet been realised and they caution that we will continue to see the negative effects on our society and older people long into the future.

Sean Moynihan, CEO of ALONE, commented, “As an organisation that works with older people, we see firsthand the effects of loneliness. 1 in 10 older people suffer from chronic loneliness[1] and I don’t think that people are aware just how devastating loneliness can be for your general health. Older people who are isolated don’t always have the capacity to engage in community activities and stay involved and without outside assistance issues like lack of transport or decreased physical mobility can cause them to remain in their home.”

ALONE’s Befriending Service provides companionship to older people who are socially isolated or experiencing through a weekly volunteer visit as well as a range of social events. In 2016, 4,500 people were supported by befriending services nationwide, an increase of 42%.The charity aims to grow the Befriending service from 600 to 10,000 volunteers in next 5 years.

Moynihan continued, “We believe that befriending should complement mainstream health services and is vital to helping people remain independent in their own homes. Every day, we witness how our Befriending Service makes a positive impact on both the older people and the volunteers.”

This St Patrick’s Day ALONE are asking emigrants to remember older people left at home who may be feeling isolated.  If you are concerned for someone back home in Ireland you can contact ALONE on 01 679 1032 and we can offer support, or link them in with relevant services in their own county, alternatively you can visit