Brendan O’Carroll: Up to one in 10 elderly people is lonely

Up to one in 10 older people in Ireland experiences chronic loneliness, actor Brendan O’Carroll said.

The Alone charity said the number using its services had doubled since 2016 and its staff supported 1,900 people.

Mrs Brown’s Boys sitcom star Mr O’Carroll said the charity’s efforts were extremely valuable.

He added: “It’s fantastic to be a part of Alone’s ‘Have a Laugh for Loneliness’ campaign.

“It’s awful to think that as many as one in 10 older people experience chronic loneliness.

“Alone’s work to combat this is extremely valuable and the difference it makes in the lives of older people is powerful.

“We’re hoping that by having a laugh for loneliness, the public will not only raise funds for ALONE but help to combat loneliness in their community.”

The campaign encourages people to host social events for family, friends and neighbours, to raise funds to support Alone’s services.

A major element of Alone’s support is the charity’s befriending service. This pairs older people, who may be experiencing loneliness or isolation, with trained volunteers who can offer help with practical tasks and most importantly, offer friendship.

This week, the charity published its 2017 Annual Report, which cited a 100% increase in the number of older people using Alone’s services since 2016.

By comparison, Alone’s donations increased by just 15% during this time.

Chief executive officer Sean Moynihan said: “The fact is that loneliness can shorten your life. Thousands of older people across the country struggle with loneliness every day.”

He added: “Receiving a regular call or visit from Alone offering friendship and support is a simple thing which can make a huge difference to older people. “

Established in 1977, Alone supports older people who want to stay at home.

It works with those who have issues with loneliness and social isolation, lack of services, poor health, poverty, homelessness or housing.