Charity reports surge in pensioners 'calling for help'
Published 01/09/2010 | 13:59
A charity for the elderly today reported a 150pc surge in calls for help from lonely pensioners.
Alone revealed that volunteers are taking almost 200 calls per month from vulnerable older people, while maintaining 90 residences across Dublin.
Another 35 isolated pensioners are on a waiting list for befriending visits.
Chief executive Sean Moynihan said the charity is a central point of contact for those in need of assistance to deal with loneliness, housing or day-to-day issues.
"We have a long waiting list of people wishing to volunteer for the organisation, but are unable to proceed with these applications due to the lack of resources available to us, and an increasingly tight funding situation," he said.
"We receive no Government funding for our day-to-day service provision, so are hugely dependent on the goodwill of the public, who have been tremendously supportive during the lifetime of the charity.
"Of course, we remind the public that while donations are always welcome, we also urge them to spend some time checking on their older neighbours who may be isolated."
Mr Moynihan said loneliness and isolation is a huge factor in the lives of some older people.
While services most in demand centre on housing difficulties and maintenance, Alone also organises social outings and holidays and acts in an advocacy capacity for those who require assistance with entitlements or energy providers.
Mr Moynihan said Alone is determined to maintain the same level of service to all those in need of it despite the lack of resources.
"We operate with a very small and dedicated staff, and a large, enthusiastic group of volunteers who are becoming more and more stretched in the face of such an overwhelming demand for our services," he added.
"It is our intention to increase the number of volunteers we have, but we are currently faced with the challenge of trying to train new volunteers with limited resources."