In 2020, ALONE, the group that supports senior people, had seen a rise in the number of callers expressing depressive thoughts, with even more people registering feelings of social isolation. ALONE also identified a spike in a wide variety of mental health effects, while acknowledging that the COVID-19 protocols are in effect to deter the transmission of COVID-19. Data included by ALONE and The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) in July 2020 in the Loneliness and Social Isolation in the COVID-19 Pandemic among the over 70s report found that one-third of those aged 50 and older feel lonely at least some of the time. The analysis also found that among over-75s and those living alone, isolation is more prevalent. The ALONE Support and Telephone Befriending service continued remotely with volunteers following the spread of the virus, but more support for over 70s feeling lonely is needed.
While Christmas draws into Irish households and businesses, tubs of selection chocolates will quickly be stocked up, followed shortly afterwards by fighting over which Christmas tin is the best: Roses, Quality Street, Celebrations or Heroes? Quality Street is really pulling up its Christmas sleeves this year with many chocolate enthusiasts making the swap.