Watch: Reaching out to those who will spend Christmas alone

ALONE are calling on people to reach out to older community members over the Christmas period

Can you imagine spending Christmas alone, with just your memories to keep you company?

That’s the question that ALONE – the charity that supports older people to age at home – is asking this Christmas, in a new video that sees older people relive their memories of the festive season.

The video aims to highlight the loneliness and isolation some older people can experience around Christmas time, with ALONE asking the public to reach out to older members of their community who may be spending Christmas on their own or might be feeling isolated at this time of year.

They’re asking people to take 30 minutes out of their day over the next couple of weeks to reach out to an older person in their community.

The video was made with the help of filmmaker Cian Brennan, and features Rita, Joan and Cecil.

“Christmas can be a particularly isolating time for older people who have no loved ones to share it with,” said Sean Moynihan, CEO of ALONE.

“With this video we are trying to remind people that many older persons within their community will be alone on Christmas day with nothing but their memories of Christmases past. If everyone could take thirty minutes to reach out to an older person in their community it would make the world of difference.”

The charity say that 170,000 older Irish people are living alone, and are stressing that the winter months can mean those people are less inclined to leave their homes due to the darkness and cold – while some of the vital community support structures these people typically rely on may shut down over Christmas.

“We are reminding the Irish public, to check in on their older neighbours, for a cup of tea, a quick word of kindness or just to see if they need a lift to the shops,” Mr Moynihan said. 

“Many of the vital services and community supports that older people avail of close down over the Christmas period, so for many older people the holidays can be a particularly isolating time where some might not see anyone for days.”

ALONE will be delivering hot Christmas meals to numerous older people who are living on their own this year, as well as hosting a social dinner dance. The charity has also delivered 500 hampers of vital supplies to people who use their services.

They have asked people to consider possibly helping older neighbours in some of the following ways: calling by to say hello; ensuring they have enough food, medication and heat; bringing them out for a drive or to a social event, and giving them a hand with their shopping.

For those who have concerns about their own well-being, or the well-being of an older person in the community, ALONE can be contacted on (01) 679 1032. To make a donation and help ALONE’s vital work this Christmastime visit www.alone.ie.