ALONE launch a COVID-19 support line for older people

Working in collaboration with the Department of Health and the HSE

ALONE announce national support line and additional supports and outreach for older people 

ALONE, the organisation that supports older people, has announced the launch of a national support line and additional supports for older people who have concerns or are facing difficulties relating to the outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in Ireland.

On Tuesday 3 March, the National Public Health Emergency, chaired by Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer in the Department of Health, announced the establishment of a Vulnerable People Subgroup.

As a member organisation of the National Public Health Emergency COVID-19 Subgroup for Vulnerable People, ALONE is working in collaboration with the Department of Health and the HSE on a coordinated national response to support older people who have concerns, may be at risk or who have contracted COVID-19.

The supports offered include a new national support line launching tomorrow, Monday 9 March, and additional outreach and coordinated support. This support line is to complement the clinical advice and information being provided by the HSE through its website and helpline.

Professional staff will be available to answer queries regarding COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and give advice and reassurance where necessary. The support line will be open Monday to Friday, 8am-8pm, by calling 0818 222 024, and hours may be extended to meet the demand.

Sean Moynihan, CEO of ALONE said, “The WHO advises us to be SMART and inform ourselves about COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and to be kind and support one another. This support line provides additional information supports for older people who may have concerns or support needs; it is led by our voluntary sector who provide invaluable work with communities; and is working as part of our co-ordinated national response to COVID-19.”

“We are ramping up our response to COVID-19 to provide support to all older people nationwide working in collaboration with the Department of Health and the HSE,” he continued.

“As the situation develops, as well as advice, information and emotional supports, we will ensure every older person will have access to food, medication, fuel, daily contact, and any other support that may be needed. We want to emphasise that these supports are free, and available to all older people, including those who have not previously used our services.

“Should any older person need any advice or practical support, we encourage them to call us on 0818 222 024. We are also collaborating on our response with more than 100 other organisations in the community and voluntary sector working with older people, providing them with support where necessary, to create a surge in capacity and ensure a comprehensive and robust response. As the situation develops we may need to call on civic organisations to support our work.”

Our message is clear, ALONE and its partner organisations are providing additional information and supports, however where older people consider that they have COVID-19 (Coronavirus) symptoms and meet the criteria set out by the HSE their first point of contact should be to phone a doctor in line with HSE advice.”

Moynihan continued: “At the moment the risk of contracting Coronavirus is low to moderate. In line with HSE advice older people should continue to carry out their daily activities as normal while taking the appropriate preventative measures, including regular washing of hands and practicing cough etiquette.”

ALONE has 2,000 volunteers who provide visitation and telephone Support and Befriending, and professional staff who offer coordinated supports to older people experiencing loneliness, financial and housing difficulties, and any other challenges they may face. 45% of the older people ALONE supports are over the age of 80.

ALONE advises that older people practice the following protective measures as outlined by the HSE:

  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water.
  • Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing/sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Practice cough and sneeze hygiene – covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough/sneeze. Then dispose of the tissue immediately.
  • Stay informed: keep up to date on latest Covid-19 information on

“The outbreak of COVID-19 will pose additional challenges for older people who may already be vulnerable and particularly those who struggle with health difficulties, loneliness, and other issues,” concluded Moynihan. “To the friends and family of older people who may have concerns, we are encouraging them to continue to support older people in the community as they have always done, while ensuring they are taking the same protective measures.”

Contact ALONE on 0818 222 024 if you have concerns about your own wellbeing, or the wellbeing of an older person you know. Further information can be found on


Note to the Editor: ALONE’s support line is available to all older people, and those who have concerns about an older person close to them, Monday-Friday, 8am-8pm, on 0818 222 024

About ALONE 

ALONE is a national organisation that supports and empowers older people to age happily and securely at home. We support individuals and their families, work with other organisations, and campaign nationwide to improve the lives of older people. We work with all older people, including those who are lonely, isolated, homeless, living in poverty, or are facing other difficulties. We support them through these challenges to help them find long term solutions.

ALONE provide Support and Befriending, Coordinated Support, Age-friendly Housing, and BConnect technology and community services. We use individualised support plans and provide one point of contact for older people to access health, social care, housing and other services to improve physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. ALONE enables outcomes including improved quality of life, community activation, and implementation of national strategies.

The Department of Health has developed public health advice posters that are available for the public to download and display on their premises.

The National Public Health Emergency Team case definition includes Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, Iran and four regions in northern Italy (Lombardy, Veneto Emilia-Romagna and Piedmont) alongside mainland China.

  • anyone who has been to an affected region (mainland China, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Iran and four regions in northern Italy) in the last 14 days AND is experiencing symptoms should self-isolate and call their GP
  • anyone who has been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the last 14 days AND is experiencing symptoms should immediately self-isolate and call their GP
  • anyone who has been to an affected region (China, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea, Iran and four regions in northern Italy) in the last 14 days, and are well, should visit for advice

It can take up to 14 days for symptoms of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) to show.

Symptoms may include:

  • a cough
  • shortness of breath
  • breathing difficulties
  • fever (high temperature)

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) can also cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

Things you can do to protect yourself from getting COVID-19 (Coronavirus) include:

  • wash your hands properly and regularly
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough and sneeze

Wash your hands properly and regularly with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub:

  • after coughing and sneezing
  • after toilet use
  • before eating
  • before and after preparing food