Our Beloved Elders

Older people’s mental health during the coronavirus outbreak

Like all stages of life, older age brings its own challenges. Mental health problems in later life are often a normal consequence of growing older.

Some groups of people are more at risk from coronavirus, including older people. It can infect anyone of any age but people aged 60 and over are more likely to have more severe symptoms. People over 75 are particularly vulnerable.

How you can mind your mental health

Minding your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak is very important.

Adjusting to new circumstances can take time. Be patient and find what works for you.  Organise your day and write down daily “to-do” lists and activities. Do this every day for the day ahead. Ask a friend or family member to help work through what’s on your mind and plan ahead.

Some other things you can do

  • Develop a regular structure to your day. Routines can reassure you – they can make the world feel more predictable and safer.
  • Stay active in and around your home. Walk around the house during the day or find new ways to exercise in small ways that are comfortable for you. Exercise is a mood enhancer.
  • Eat and drink healthily – lots of fruit, vegetables, and water – to help boost your immune system and energy levels.
  • Keep a good sleep routine each night – this will help you feel better the following day.
  • Contact any groups that you are involved with and see what new ways they are organising things.
  • Develop new interests. Creative activities or reading are particularly beneficial.
  • There are many events available live online, including concerts and religious services.
  • Keep contact details close by – friends, family, and services.

Support Services 


Alone provide a COVID-19 support line for older people

Call 0818 222 024 (from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week)


  • Confidential listening service for older people provided by trained older volunteers
  • Call 1800 804 591 (lines are open every day from 10am to 10pm) 

Age-Friendly Ireland

  • Age-Friendly Ireland have a compiled a list of all Local Authority Community Response Forums, and their contact helpline numbers.
  • Access their daily newsletter here

Alzheimer Society

  • Practical information and emotional support or information on supports.
  • Freephone 1800 341 341 (Monday to Friday from 10am to 5pm and Saturday from 10am to 4pm) or email helpline@alzheimer.ie

Dementia Ireland

The Dementia Resource Hub provides sign-posting to web-based reliable information and on-line resources for people with dementia, families and carers.


Friends of the Elderly

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Older people’s mental health during the coronavirus outbreak

If you are supporting an older person

Showing care, kindness and compassion is very important.

Make sure they have activities that they can engage in at home. For example, music, books, magazines, knitting. You can also do other things, such as looking through photo albums together.

Helping an older person in small, practical ways will make a big difference, for example:

  • Offer practical help with day-to-day tasks – shopping, picking up prescriptions or medicines.
  • Help them plan ahead – discuss the next few days and listen out for concerns they have, or things they may need help with.
  • Make contact DAILY by phone – have a chat and listen to what they say
  • Share facts and give clear information that is easy to understand.
  • Look out for changes in mood or behaviour – this might mean they are struggling and need extra support.
  • Be aware of any cognitive difficulties – they could become more anxious, angry, stressed, agitated or withdrawn.
  • Provide emotional support through any other informal networks and health professionals.

They may not be comfortable using technology. If they aren’t, show them how to use other ways to stay in touch with others. For example, messaging apps or video calls.

They can also access any local community events being streamed online.

“The world is in me and you are not even in the world yet.”
― Warren Eyster, The Goblins of Eros



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