ALONE, the organisation which supports older people has responded to advice from the National Public Health Emergency Team which encourages older people to narrow their interactions to a small network of people while also asking people to keep gatherings in their homes small. ALONE appreciate that these measures seek to protect older people from contracting COVID-19 and had been worried that a total reintroduction of cocooning measures would have a negative effect on the mental and physical wellbeing of older people in the coming weeks.
Older people are being advised to restrict their movements, limit the time they spend outdoors, limit their network of contacts to six people from outside the home and go shopping at designated times to prevent the transmission of the virus up until September 13th. This latest advisory is a result of an increase in the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 over the past two weeks, which is having a knock-on effect on numbers being treated for the virus in hospitals. People aged over 70 are asked to implement these precautions at their own discretion for their own safety and to limit their interactions to a small network for short periods.
The organisation is also concerned about the impact of COVID-19 as the weather begins to get colder, and has called on the Government and NPHET to start putting plans in place for the winter months. We must implement the learning from the last few months and ensure that homecare and other services to support older people are not only maintained but increased to meet demand.
ALONE has spoken to many people who use our services who feel that they had been managing their own risks and following public health guidelines and rules, and that they should be able to choose and manage risks and their health like any other adult. ALONE believe that everyone should treated equally and this is only possible if we all follow the guidelines
Seán Moynihan, CEO of ALONE, stated: “Of course, we want to protect our older people from COVID-19.We feel the way to do this is to main social solidarity where we all follow the public health advice and collectively protect those at risk regardless of age.”
He continued, “Fresh air, movement, social connection and access to medical services are essential for older people now in the winter months ahead,. Ultimately, we stand alongside those who use our services, and we are extremely disappointed that older people may face harsh restrictions once again due to the negligence and disregard of other people across the country.”
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.