Former Broadcaster Vincent Browne is working with charity ALONE, which helps elderly people to age at home. At the launch of their Christmas campaign, he said that 60,000 old people get hardly any visits from friends or family. And in the article about the launch, it also explains that “In Ireland, one-third of people over the age of 65 live alone, rising to 60% for those over the age of 80.”
When I read that, I struck me that this will get worse and worse in the future because the proportion of people that live alone in the age group 30-50 is significantly larger than it ever was. There are lots of different reasons why more and more people have no partner and/or no family, but the result of it is that in the future more and more people will live alone and might at some stage experience loneliness.
What can we do about it? In my opinion we have to adjust and we have to do that rapidly. Where in the past the larger family was the support infrastructure for ageing people, in the future we will need to build a different type of community where either elderly people live in a commune-type environment OR where there are support systems created that provide entertainment but also help to people living at home alone.
And hopefully, services like the “Dublin Event Guide (for Free Events)” will be around at that stage and will help the ageing communities to find lots of great events to go to. ;-)