| 13.5°C Dublin

Many OAPs living in 'cold and unsafe' houses, says charity

VULNERABLE older people are suffering from living in sub-standard, often dilapidated accommodation.

Activists from the charity Alone have travelled around Dublin and found numerous homes, inhabited by elderly people, in states of serious disrepair.

In many cases, bathroom and kitchen facilities were run-down and in others there were clear signs of damp.

The charity has begun a billboard poster campaign, with the help of Dublin creative agency Bonfire, to highlight the plight of many elderly people.

Sean Moynihan, CEO of Alone, told the Herald that it was often very difficult for volunteers to enter the houses and see the conditions that some people had to live in.

"For anybody walking into these homes, it can be very difficult to see people like that.

"I think the pictures speak for themselves. Often I think the house can represent some of the problems and the difficulties people have faced in their own lives," Mr Moynihan said.

In some cases, elderly people have become sick and are unable to attend to their homes.

"In these cases, the houses have aged around the individuals. It can be very hard sometimes for people to come forward and say that they need help and maybe admit that they are not as strong as they used to be," he added.

Alone has called on the public to help support the provision of "warm, comfortable and supportive homes" for older people.

"Sadly the reality is that some of our most vulnerable older people are being left to survive in cold, damp and unsafe houses with no central heating or running water, while others are being evicted from their current accommodation," the charity said.

There are more than 4,765 older people on the housing list, but the charity believes that the real number in need of housing is much higher.

It has pointed out that Ireland has a rapidly ageing population, with the number of people aged over 65 set to double by 2020.