Mr Michael Ring TD, the Minister for Rural and Community Development, has announced a new befriending phone-call initiative to support participants of the Seniors Alert Scheme which is being funded by the Department of Rural and Community Development.
The initiative will allow older people to receive a regular phone call to check on their wellbeing and needs during the current COVID-19 emergency. The befriending scheme will be operated in conjunction with POBAL and ALONE.
Minister Ring is using his Department’s Seniors Alert Scheme, which provides monitored alarms for older people in their homes, to enable this initiative. The initiative aims to provide peace of mind and local assistance to older people, of whom more than 80,000 are registered on the Seniors Alert Scheme.
The new befriending initiative requires users to test their alarms to ensure that they are still active. Monitoring providers or local community groups operating the Senior Alerts Scheme service will contact the user.
Once the user tests their alarm, they will be called back and asked if they would like to avail of a befriending call service through ALONE, and either the number of ALONE is given to the participant, or their consent is sought for ALONE to be provided with their contact details to be included in the befriending service.
The Senior Alerts Scheme is operated locally by some 670 community groups throughout the State, and administered by POBAL on behalf of the Minister. The involvement of these community groups ensures that the service has a strong local dimension as these groups are embedded in communities throughout the country.
The involvement of ALONE in this befriending phone-call initiative is critical. It has the nationwide capacity to provide this service, and it is part of their significant and vital contribution to the measures taken to respond to the COVID-19 emergency.
The ALONE Helpline can also be contacted on 0818 222 024 if you have concerns about your own wellbeing, or the wellbeing of an older person you know