Surge in Numbers of Elderly Seeking Help

The number of elderly people seeking daily assistance from charity is soaring.

New research by the charity ALONE shows there has been a massive surge in demand for its services.

"We have called for a mandatory level of training for all professionals working with older persons in Ireland, as such a requirement exists for those working with children"

Housing difficulties and maintenance have become the main problems facing the elderly -- Alone has now seen an increase of 150pc in requests for help. Loneliness and isolation are huge factors in the lives of older people and the charity has set up a "befriending programme" to combat this.

However, the surge in demand has resulted in a large number of people on their waiting list as funding has "dropped dramatically" in the past year.

ALONE is now dealing with almost 200 telephone calls a month, along with maintaining over 90 residences across the city which house older persons.

The organisation also holds social outings and holidays, arranges for domestic maintenance and upkeep for those who require it, as well as acting in an advocacy role for those who require assistance with their entitlements, or need intervention with a service such as an energy provider.

But despite the soaring demand, the charity insists it will stick to its rigorous training standards for staff -- there is even a waiting list for volunteers.

Concern

Chief executive of ALONE, Sean Moynihan, said that although resources continue to be an ongoing issue and concern for ALONE, it is determined to offer the same level of help.

"We have called for a mandatory level of training for all professionals working with older persons in Ireland, as such a requirement exists for those working with children," he said.

"We are working towards ensuring that all involved with ALONE will have a sufficient level of training and are focused on this goal to ensure we're offering the best possible services."

But the organisation said donations had "dropped dramatically" in the past year as the recession worsened and that they are unable to accommodate all the staff on their waiting list.

"We have a long waiting list of people wishing to volunteer for the organisation but are unable to proceed with these applications due to the lack of resources available to us, and an increasingly tight funding situation.

"We receive no Government funding for our day-to-day service provision, so are hugely dependent on the goodwill of the public, who have been tremendously supportive during the lifetime of the charity," he added.