“Calls to Senior Help Line are on the increase. Figures released show that older people are continuing to be impacted by austerity and are among the most vulnerable group in the country.”
The Senior Help Line is available 365 days a year from 10am-10pm, for the price of a local call on 1850 440 444. The organisation says that all calls are handled in strict confidence.
Operations Director with Bluebird Care, Eddie O’Toole was speaking following news that Senior Help Line, run by almost 350 volunteers, received over 28,500 calls in 2013 and describes itself as ‘only national peer to peer listening service for older people’ and is run by Third Age Ireland.
Senior helpline CEO Aine Brady said the line is open for people to discuss anything of concern, and is aimed at “breaking the cycle of loneliness”.
While the main topic is loneliness, others contact the service due to worries over the high costs of living, elder abuse, and feelings of suicide. However, she expressed concern at the increasing demand on the service.
“Worryingly we are receiving twice as many calls as we can answer,” she said.
Calls have increased exponential each year since the service was set-up.
The organisation believes the effect of emigration on older sections of society has been ‘largely ignored in public debate’.