‘Huge levels of loneliness’ amongst elderly in Ireland this Christmas

One in four people aged over 65 live alone in Ireland.
Robert Kindregan
Robert Kindregan

09.20 21 Dec 2023

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‘Huge levels of loneliness’ am...

‘Huge levels of loneliness’ amongst elderly in Ireland this Christmas

Robert Kindregan
Robert Kindregan

09.20 21 Dec 2023

Share this article

There are ‘huge levels of loneliness’ in Ireland’s elderly community this Christmas, according to the charity Alone.

On Breakfast Briefing this morning its Chief Executive Sean Moynihan called on the public to check on the needs of people living on their own in their area.

Over 35,000 people use the services Alone provides, which includes providing company and helping with bills.


Hard time

Mr Moynihan said Christmas is the hardest time of year for these people.

“The reality is, unfortunately, that we have huge levels of loneliness around Christmas from young and older people,” he said.

“Especially for older people at this time of year; if people have been bereaved, or family have moved away - it can be a tough time of year.”

Mr Moynihan said anyone can help cure someone of their loneliness.

“There is support if you need it; the community does want to include you at Christmas and at other times of year,” he said.

“Every great friendship starts with hello, and five minutes of your time can make someone’s day.

“Because people live on their own – they may not have the social contact they need that keeps us all healthy and well.

“We all know since COVID, if we didn’t know before, that that sort of connection, social activity, and emotional support we get from other people is what keeps us healthy and well.”

Check on others

Mr Moynihan said to check if older people in your area have the basic essentials they need.

“Make sure they have food, heating, and ultimately that they have the support they need,” he said.

“If they don’t - whether it’s the older person themselves or a neighbour - please reach out to us.

“We’re here all Christmas. Nobody wants anyone left on their own at any time of year, but especially at Christmas.”

Old people lonely at Christmas Old man alone in a cafe. Image: agefotostock / Alamy Stock Photo

The cost of energy is a particularly strong worry for some this time of year.

“Unfortunately, we have a terrible thing called excess winter deaths where more older people die during the winter than any other time of year,” said Mr Moynihan.

“A lot of that is related to the cold, and we appreciate Government dig outs, but people may not know that older people are most at risk of poverty of any age group.”


Mr Moynihan said the charity increases their services over the Christmas period.

“We check in with people at Christmas, make sure they are supported, and make sure everybody has a Christmas dinner,” he said.

“On Christmas Day all around the country, we will have hundreds, close to 1,000 volunteers who will deliver between 1,000 and 1,200 Christmas Dinners on the day.

“Not only are we bringing people food, we are bringing them company and a message that the community wants to support them.”

Alone can be contacted seven days per week over the Christmas period from between 8am and 8pm on 0818 222 024.

The charity has a network of over 4,000 volunteers across 97 locations.

Over one in four people aged 65 and older currently live alone in Ireland.

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