ALONE, the organisation that supports older people to age at home, is asking members of the public to be respectful of older people’s boundaries and preferences as Ireland progresses with the removal of most COVID-19 restrictions. The end of mask wearing in public places and transport is especially worrying for this group. The organisation wants to ensure that older people’s choices are listened to and that friends and family are mindful of their concerns.
ALONE want members of the public to check-in with older people around how they are feeling with the easing of restrictions, ask them what they would prefer when it comes to visits in the home and whether they would feel comfortable if they were to continue to wear masks in their presence. While older people do not want to lengthen the period of social isolation even more, we need to remember to take their wishes into consideration. As COVID is still present and infecting people, older people and socially and medically vulnerable groups cannot throw caution to the wind just yet.
Some of the older people ALONE work with have been in a constant state of social isolation for nearly two years now and are nervous at the pace of easing given the uncertainty of the pandemic and its variants. Older people have been dealing with the repercussions of social isolation and still have a long-road ahead to rebuild their confidence and reintegrate into society. ALONE’s primary concern is that they are adequately supported in their re-emergence with proper care and plans in place.
Seán Moynihan, CEO of ALONE said, “Now is the time to consider how we can best ensure older people’s safety as they begin to return to society. We recognise that normal rules don’t apply to older people and socially or medically vulnerable groups. Older people need to take extra care and we would encourage friends and family to ask them about their preferences. We must listen to their worries and doubts, assess the actions that need to be taken and devise strategies on the best ways to protect these groups.”
He continued, “It is up to all of us to support and empower older people to take a full part in our society post-pandemic. We must ensure to ask older people what they are comfortable with before we welcome ourselves into their homes or lives.”
Contact ALONE if you have concerns about your own wellbeing, or the wellbeing of an older person you know. Their National Support and Referral Line is available seven days a week from 8am – 8pm on 0818 222 024. Further information can be found on www.alone.ie.