“Loneliness is the biggest individual problem faced by older people living alone”. This poignant issue was highlighted earlier this week, when the SVP Report of the Commission on Older People was launched on Wednesday 7th September in Dublin.
The Commission was established in 2010 in a bid to understand the experiences of life as an older person in Ireland today and the implications of daily lives for both government and SVP policy and planning. To this end, the Commission, worked for over a year with SVP staff and members along with two researchers, Kathy Walsh and Brian Harvey to carry out a consultation process throughout the country involving members, clients, staff and volunteers.
The findings of the Commission have been published in full in the report, ‘Society of St. Vincent de Paul Report of the Commission of Older People. Older People – Experiences and Issues’.
The main findings can be categorised as follows;
Experiences and Feelings about Ageing
Income adequacy and fuel poverty
Public Services: Access and Quality
Government Policy: What SVP should call on the Government to do?
Informing the Work and Services of SVP
How the Consultation was Carried Out
Another significant issue which was recognised by the report is the problem over the availability of public transport, with the problem effecting people in both urban and rural areas. Again, the issue transport could be said to add to the concern of isolation as people find it increasingly to leave their homes, be it to travel to the local shops or to visit a friend.
A central element of the report in the fact that the numerous obstacles facing them, older people in Ireland generally tend to have a positive outlook and consider that Ireland is a good country in which to grow older.
The full report can be downloaded from this link to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul website and the link at the bottom of the page. Alternatively, the Executive Summary can be downloaded and read from this page.
SVP - Report of the Commission - Older People Executive Summary