ALONE the charity that supports older people in Ireland launched its annual report today at their headquarters in Dublin with Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People Mary Butler. The report comes following another year of growth which saw ALONE interact with the largest number of older people in its history. It has grown as an organisation, due to the increased demand for its services. Loneliness/Social Isolation remained the highest area of support for the 22,300 older people who ALONE supported in 2022, closely followed by Housing and Financial Support. ALONE provided 25,687 unique supports, and successfully completed 87% of these supports on time for the older people we support.
ALONE supported older people through its Support and Befriending Service, Support Coordination, Housing, Housing with Supports, Assistive Technology, Social Prescribing and advocacy. As well as our strong network of sectorial partners that we work with. ALONE provided these 22,300 supports across every county in Ireland during 2022, which is the highest number in ALONE’s 45-year history.
The theme of the report is of ALONE’s role in driving the change that is required to deal with an ageing Ireland. The summary below highlights some of the major achievements made with thanks to HSE funding and the continued generosity of our donors:
- In 2022, ALONE operated all services 365 days of the year.
- We supported 22,300 older people.
- ALONE completed 25,687 interventions.
- 18,456 calls were made to our National Support and Referral line.
- In October we broke ground on the Pilot Project for Housing with Support in Inchicore, Dublin, in partnership with DCC and HSE, which will deliver 52 homes.
- 169,351 Support and Befriending calls were made to older people by ALONE.
- 71,332 visits by our volunteers to the older people we support, providing practical supports and social prescription.
- We had 4,956 volunteers supporting our services.
- Volunteers gave 224,656 hours of valued support to our older persons.
- ALONE trained and subsequently added 1,145 new volunteers to our frontline services.
- Volunteer provided €2,538,613 worth of support to older people.
- 994 older people were given a Christmas dinner by ALONE and our partners in addition to ALONE making 5,161 Christmas calls, the highest amount of Christmas Dinners ever delivered by ALONE.
- 1,298 assistive technology devices were distributed and installed across the country.
- Established a new online referral form allowing us to improve our support for older people by integrating more with our MIS system.
- Over 100 organisations were supported by our Community Impact Network.
- In November, we launched the HALO report describing an evaluation of the ALONE Visitation Support and Befriending Service.
Upon release of the report ALONE CEO Seán Moynihan commented, “The report shows us that we are on course to meet our challenging targets set out in our Strategic Plan. The way we have done and will do that is by continuing to grow as a national organisation and integrate our services together as demand grows for our work across Ireland. This is made possible by the selfless work of so many volunteers, staff, partner organisations and supporters of which I am very grateful and proud. NGO’s such as ALONE and its partners are best positioned to identify the gaps in policy, services and resources, and are best positioned to demonstrate the solution. Although it is important for Government policy to keep up with an ageing demographic, it is ever-so crucial that a vibrant and enterprising NGO sector and civil society are at the forefront of changing the way that we age.”
He went on to say “ALONE is at the forefront of solving the problems of an ageing population from combatting loneliness, Benchmarking the State Pension, expanding housing options for older people and using technology to allow older people to age in place. Ageing in Ireland has changed a lot since ALONE was first founded, and we only hope that policy makers become as adept at responding to our ageing population as we have been and will continue to be.”
Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People Mary Butler commented: “I welcome the publication of ALONE’s Annual Report 2022 which has identified needs such as befriending, housing and technology. The Government and I recognise the critical role ALONE and other organisations play in supporting older people to age in place in their homes and communities.”
“I have provided significant funding from my budget to support the roll out of these initiatives. Since 2021 an additional €228 million has been provided for home support services, bringing the overall budget in 2023 to €723 million. The overall investment in older persons’ services stands at €2.4 billion for 2023 — an increase of 25% since 2020. This continued investment ensures that core and wraparound services can be developed and provided by HSE Older Persons’ Services and voluntary groups such as ALONE.”
She continued, “Earlier this year I was pleased to announce an additional €4.1 million for day care services and an additional €1.8 million of funding for meals on wheels services to support the expansion of their service provision. Day services are a source of invaluable support, advice, and social interaction for older persons who may be experiencing isolation and loneliness. Over the years, the meals on wheels service has also proved to be a vital component of the community-based supports offered to older people, particularly in rural communities.”
ALONE is also encouraging anyone to contact us to refer an older person or to get some support for themselves on our National Support & Referral line 0818 222 024.