Monday 11 December 2017

Fears mount for elderly as another life lost

Tom Shiel and Kevin Keane

THE weather claimed another life yesterday, as concerns were raised that some elderly people may be snow-bound without assistance for up to a fortnight.

It's believed that an elderly man, who was found dead on the doorstep of his home yesterday died because of the Arctic conditions. The body of Tom Connolly was discovered by a relative in Claremorris, Co Mayo around 10.30am.

It's believed the pensioner had been out in the open since 9pm the previous evening when he was dropped home by a taxi after spending the evening with friends.

Local gardai said they were keeping an open mind as to the cause of Mr Connolly's death, but added that there were no suspicious elements involved.

The death follows that of an 81-year-old in Co Cork who was discovered beside his car in a field near his home earlier this week. Gardai believe that Donal O'Connell may have been attempting to turn his vehicle when it got stuck in the snow.

Meanwhile, a number of organisations working with older people have launched a joint helpline for older people who are housebound and in need of supplies. Age Action, the Society of St Vincent de Paul and Muintir na Tire are pooling their volunteers in order to help those in difficulty.

"Our concern is that the forecast for snow and freezing temperatures in the coming days means that the snow which has already fallen will be with us for the next week, and that some older people will be house-bound for up to a fortnight before there is any sign of a thaw," Age Action spokesman Eamon Timmins said.


"Few households will have sufficient stocks of food, fuel and medicine to get through this period without assistance."

The three groups are urging the public to visit elderly neighbours, and for older people to keep in telephone contact with family and friends.

As well as this, Age Action is advising older people to dress warmly with multiple layers of thin clothing, instead of one thick layer, to remain active throughout the day, and to eat at least one hot meal each day.

The helpline service is accessible by contacting: Age Action on 01 4756989, Muintir na Tire on 086 6000751, and the Society of St Vincent de Paul on 01 8386990.

Irish Independent

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