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Elderly people who live alone can become very isolated in their community especially in the winter months when the evenings are long and the weather cold. They are also more at risk of falling and of hypothermia or of falling ill and being unable to get out for medication and shopping. Many are fearful of going out in the dark evenings and may become more isolated as a result.

  • Call in for a chat - it need only be a quick one.
  • Invite them in for a cup of tea.
  • Put the bin out for them.
  • Invite them to go with you to the local pub for a drink or lunch.
  • Keep an eye out for milk not brought in, newspapers and letters left stuck in the letterbox, curtains not pulled, no lights on in the evenings or anything that might alert you to the fact that all may not be well.
  • Offer a lift to church services or to walk there with the person if it is near- church services can be very important to many elderly people.
  • Ask if they need any shopping when you are going - even if they do not want anything it is a great support to have the offer if it is needed and the social contact in itself is important.
  • Encourage children not to kick football in front of an elderly persons house as it can be very intimidating for someone who may be unsteady on their feet or frail to walk out of their house in this situation. Older children and teenagers sitting on the garden wall can also be intimidating.
  • Offer to walk the dog for them or to go with the person when they are walking.
  • Encourage participation in community events such as residents association meetings- elderly people have much to offer in terms of wisdom and experience but can sometimes feel left out and not appreciated.
  • If you are going to the library ask them would they like to go.
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Copyright 2008. Reach Out. Tel: +353 (01) 222 3346, Fax: +353 (01) 222 2699, Email: colm.dwyer@dublincity.ie
Reach Out, Dublin City Council, Welfare Section, Block 1, Upper Ground Floor, Civic Offices, Dublin 8.