Limerick’s elderly feel lonely and isolated

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LONELINESS and isolation are proving huge issues for many elderly people in County Limerick with an estimated 2,240 calls made from the region to a senior helpline service last year.

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Senior Help Line, the national peer-to-peer listening service for older people, says that in 2013, loneliness brought about by a lack of social contact was the main reason Limerick callers contacted the helpline.

Available 365 days a year from 10am to 10pm for the price of a local call, the service aims to offer older people an empathic response on a variety of issues.

The cost of living, cuts to services, and instances of elder abuse and feelings of suicide were also cited as reasons for contact amongst those who availed of the service last year. According to Senior Help Line, another growing trend in 2013 was the concern among older people about family members emigrating.

Senior Helpline CEO, Aine Brady believes the huge volume of calls received by the service reflects the concerns and worries elderly people are experiencing in Ireland today.

“We are seeing an increase in demand for our services and are receiving twice as many calls as we can answer. We urge any older person who is worried about issues concerning health, family, loneliness, emigration or any other matter to call us. We will do our best to help them find a voice and share their problem or to break the cycle of loneliness,” said Ms Brady.

Senior Help Line provides a confidential listening service for older people by trained older volunteers. The helpline number is 1850 440 444.