ALONE launches its ‘Share the Warmth’ campaign ahead of a difficult winter

Joanna Donnelly, ALONE Ambassador and Met Eireann weather presenter, with Brendan Crean, ALONE service user and Sean Moynihan, CEO ALONE at the launch of the Christmas campaign. (Picture: Justin Farrelly)

ALONE, the charity that helps older people to age at home, launched its Winter campaign ‘Share the Warmth’ on Thursday with Joanna Donnelly, Met Eireann Weather presenter and ALONE service users.

The charity has continued to see a sharp increase in demand for its services as the number of older people living alone and/or living in poverty continues to rise. The aim of the campaign is to ask people to share their warmth this Christmas, the warmth of friendship and companionship as well as financial support, so that the organisation can help older people with the spiralling cost of living. 

Ms Joanna Donnelly launched the organisation’s Christmas campaign to encourage members of the public to take a few minutes out of their day to interact with their older neighbours and relatives who may be experiencing feelings of loneliness as the festive season approaches. She said how she was delighted to be helping ALONE launch their Christmas campaign this year, and to spread awareness of such an important issue.

“I admire the work that they do with older people and I’m so happy to be a part of such a positive message. Loneliness and isolation can be serious problems for older people and dropping in for a chat or helping a neighbour with their shopping could make all the difference to their mental health. We’ve all felt alone at certain times in our lives, sometimes all it takes is a cup of tea and a chat to really lift an older person’s spirits. A few minutes may not mean much to you, but to a lonely older person it could be the highlight of their week.”

“As we age, it can be more difficult to reach out to people for companionship; a lot of older people might be embarrassed or too proud to admit that they are lonely. Unfortunately, a side effect of ageing is that we can lose the people we love. Spouses, friends, family can pass on and sadly, many older people can be left feeling like they are all alone in the world.

“What might only seem like a quick chat to you can make an older person feel loved, appreciated, and like they are part of the community. So often, older people are full of life, with a wealth of knowledge and stories to share. Christmas provides people with the perfect opportunity to drop in on older neighbours and relatives for a chat,” she said.

Older people are among the most at risk from the implications of soaring energy costs, rising food prices and poorly insulated housing. Moreover, older people during the pandemic reported a decline in their mental health and suffering from loneliness. ALONE also noted that the number of older people living in poverty or at risk of poverty is over 100,000. We also know that a recent RED C Poll finds that 80 per cent of people plan to keep heating off at times, even in cold weather.

If you or someone you know needs support this Winter, please call ALONE on 0818 222 024 from 8am – 8pm, seven days a week. ALONE operates 365 days a year.