Cork services caring for the elderly during Storm Ophelia

Cork services caring for the elderly during Storm Ophelia
Ophelia Storm damage evidence in Baltimore, West Cork. Pic. Emma Jervis Photography

Concern has been raised for elderly residents of the Cork community who may be living alone in isolated parts of the city and county.

Advocate for the elderly, Paddy O’Brien said he was “genuinely and deeply concerned” for this sector of society in the aftermath of the storm.

Mr O’Brien said heat was a key element that the elderly needed to be careful about.

“For the elderly, heat can be more important than food. It is essential that people try to keep warm.” Mr O’Brien advised people not to sit in a chair all day, stay up and stay active.

“Wear a heavy coat in the house and wear extra clothes at night.” The advocate also appealed to neighbours and relatives to check on elderly neighbours who might be at risk.

“Don’t be embarrassed to knock on the door,” Mr O’Brien said, “You don’t want to hear about a fatality in a few days.” 

Friendly Call, a Cork service that offers elderly or lonely individuals a daily phone call, is still working today through the storm, checking on people, despite the fact that their office is shut.

Friendly Call Development worker Brenda Barry said they closed their office for safety reasons, but all the volunteers were making calls from home.

"I'm here making calls," Brenda told the Evening Echo, "everyone seems to be fine, a few people didn't sleep very well because they were worried, but the important thing is the warnings have worked and most people are prepared."

Charity organisation ALONE, which supports older people in need, is also urging older people to take extra care following the status red wind warning by Met Éireann.

ALONE is calling on members of the public to check on their older neighbours and assist them if they need help during the bad weather. ALONE is also asking older people who are concerned about their own well being during the stormy weather to call for assistance and help if needed.

CEO of ALONE Seán Moynihan said: “Following a status red weather warning from Met Éireann we are calling on all members of the public to remember their older neighbours living alone and to consider their needs. We’re advising older people to be prepared by ensuring they have adequate heat, medication, food and to stay indoors where possible.” 

Those who have concerns for an older person or older people in need of assistance can contact ALONE on (01) 679 1032 as the charity has volunteers and staff ready to act on requests for assistance, and works in partnership to ensure all calls for assistance are responded to. ALONE can assist and advise on issues related to food, heat, or medication.

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