ALONE, the organisation which supports older people, is asking members of the public to reach out to any older people in their lives this year on National Grandparents Day, 6th October 2020. The purpose of the day is to honour grandparents, to show bond between grandparents and children, and to help children and the public to celebrate and be aware of the strength, information, and guidance older people can offer.
The organisation wants to encourage conversation, community and celebration between all older people on this day, and younger as not all older people have grandchildren especially in these uncertain times.
ALONE has also been in touch with primary and secondary schools across the country to encourage pupils and staff to get in touch with an older person in their lives who may be feeling lonely, who are social isolating or cocooning, by suggesting a number of ways for pupils and staff to safely interact with older people in their lives. The organisation has suggested that individuals reach out to older people via phone calls or video calls.
ALONE has also suggested that young people use common interests to reach out to older people in their lives, such as learning a new hobby or watching a new series together. The organisation believes that solidarity between young people and older people is more important than ever amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Seán Moynihan, CEO of ALONE said, “National Grandparents Day is celebrated each year to honour the special bond between grandparents and grandchildren. However, as some older people do not have grandchildren, ALONE are encouraging members of the public to reach out and safely interact with older people in their lives through phone calls, socially distant visits or learning a new hobby together. People often underestimate the value of their time when it comes to older people. Spending just an hour or two a week with an older person can provide wonderful support and can greatly improve mental and physical wellbeing. In addition, older people have so knowledge and wisdom to share and have ability to guide shape and inspire us all”
He continued, “Loneliness is a serious issue among older people which has been exacerbated by the COVID-19, and we believe the long-term mental health impacts of loneliness will continue to affect older people long after the pandemic has passed. Younger people have also lost the contacts they have with the older people in their lives and this impact is not to be under estimated. We are asking members of the public to get in touch with any older people in their lives who may be finding things difficult at the moment. It is important to maintain regular contact with older people, in a way that is safe and in line with the current health guidelines. We are also encouraging any older person who is experiencing loneliness to get in touch with us. Our volunteers are continuing to provide telephone support for older people and are making regular phone calls for reassurance and social support.”
ALONE is encouraging older people who need advice to call ALONE on 0818 222 024 from 8am-8pm, seven days a week. Contact ALONE 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.