WATCH: Older people give beautiful 'thank you' surprise to Alone volunteers

Its befriending services provide companionship to over 500 people

WATCH: Older people give beautiful 'thank you' surprise to Alone volunteers

Image: YouTube/ALONEIreland

A charity that supports older people has launched a video, showing the positive impact of befriending for older people.

Alone says one-third of Irish older people live alone.

Its befriending services provide companionship to over 500 older people who are socially isolated.

This is done through a weekly volunteer visit, as well as a range of social events.

In the video, a number of older people who avail of the service thank their volunteers who have made a huge difference to their lives.

Sean Moynihan, CEO of Alone, said: "We have created this video to thank the hundreds of volunteers in Alone who offer the befriending service to older people every week.
"This video shows what a difference a little friendship that make to the lives of older people who are living alone - their volunteers have become close friends and are a lifeline to them in times of need.

He continued: "As an organisation that works with older people, we interact first hand with the effects of loneliness every day.

"I don't think that people are aware just how devastating loneliness can be for your general health.

"Not only can loneliness lead to depression, but it is also a predictor for dementia, cardiovascular disease and decreased immune system responsivity.

"Loneliness is twice as dangerous to the health of an older person as obesity, and is as damaging as smoking 15 cigarettes a day."

Alone receives no day-to-day Government funding for its services, so it depends on donations.

"We hope that this video encourages the general public to offer their help and support to older people by donating to Alone this Christmas", Moynihan added.

At Christmas, Alone will organise 500 volunteers to visit older people each week, a Christmas dinner dance for older people, the delivery of 500 Christmas hampers and a special Christmas Day dinner delivery for 100 older people.

For those who have concerns about their own wellbeing, or the wellbeing of an older person in their community, Alone can be contacted on 01-679-1032. To make a donation visit the Alone website