Stay ‘safe and secure’ this winter, say Northern Ireland church leaders
Northern Ireland Church leaders urged the people of Northern Ireland to ensure that their older family members, friends and neighbours are safe and secure this winter.
Asking everyone to consider others at this time, the four main denominations called on the public to ‘spread the warmth’ by doing a little to make a big difference.
The Catholic Bishop of Down and Connor, Dr Noel Treanor; Methodist President Rev Paul Kingston, Archdeacon Philip Patterson, the Church of Ireland Bishop of Down and Dromore's Commissary and Presbyterian Moderator Dr Norman Hamilton met to highlight the plight of older people at this time of year.
144,259 people in Northern Ireland (50% of older people) say that loneliness is a significant issue, and with circa 88,500 older people living alone (83% of whom are in fuel poverty), a personal alarm could give many of them and their carers peace of mind.
The Church leaders said, “One of the great Christian commands is to love your neighbour. So we call upon the community to act and check on their neighbours, friends and older people and ascertain if they need assistance. We are only too aware that dark nights and icy weather adds to the isolation and loneliness that so many people are feeling at this time of year.
“We commend Age NI Enterprises on this ‘safe and secure’ campaign for older people. It is important that those later in life feel safe and secure in their own homes and we are well aware of how personal alarms can save lives and give that much needed peace of mind.”
Ron Warwick, General Manager of Age NI Enterprises, said, “There are more people living here over the age of 50 than under the age of 19. The fact is we have an ageing population. It is now is the time to consider others.
“We are all finding it difficult to travel and do normal things in winter, like go to the local shop for milk. For older people winter means they will be confined to the house, as they dare not go out in the icy conditions; they feel even more insecure and lonely.
“Personal alarms offer independence, freedom and peace of mind. If something does happen or if an unwanted caller calls at their door then help is only a push of a button away.
“Having a personal alarm not only gives peace of mind to the wearer but to their families and their loved ones. It reduces the need to worry unnecessarily about an ageing parent who values their independence and lives alone.”
The personal alarm system addresses the very real and in some cases life threatening situations. In Northern Ireland the service handles over 122,000 calls a year, 598 of which have resulted in Age NI Enterprises calling the emergency services, 2,126 needing assistance and 2,314 needing reassurance or advice.
Ron Warwick added, “All monies raised from personal alarms goes back into the charity to help older people. If you are concerned about an older person who may need help to stay warm, safe and secure or even needs a free benefit check, contact the Age NI Advice and Advocacy Service on 0808 808 7575 to speak to an advisor in confidence or for further information on personal alarms freephone 0808 100 4545.”
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For further information, please contact Jackie Logan on 028 9032 5533 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to Editors:
Age NI Enterprises
To fund its charitable activities, Age NI needs a constant flow of independent income. It seeks to achieve this through a balance of traditional fund raising and trading activities.
The trading activities, through Age NI Enterprises enable it to meet the needs of older people, through products specifically designed to meet these needs; quality products such as general insurance and personal alarms. Age NI Enterprises is the commercial services arm of Age NI.
Age NI Enterprises incorporates: personal alarms, travel insurance, motor insurance, home insurance and funeral plans. Log on to www.ageuk.org.uk/northern-ireland/buy for details.
Age NI Enterprises is based at 10 College Street, Belfast BT1 6BT.
Age NI is the new charity combining Age Concern NI and Help the Aged in Northern Ireland. The Age UK family includes Age Scotland, Age Cymru, and Age NI.
Age NI delivers care services, provides advice and advocacy, fundraises and influences decision-makers to improve later life for us all. Age NI tackles ageism where it exists, fights for enough money for older people to live in dignity and demands the quality of care that people in later life deserve. Visit www.ageni.org to find out more about the charity.
Age NI is a charitable company limited by guarantee and registered in Northern Ireland: registered office address 3 Lower Crescent, Belfast, BT7 1NR. Company number NI071940, HMRC Charity reference number XTI4600.