News & Events
Covid-19 Information and Advice for Older/ Vulnerable People
Added: Thursday, March 26, 2020
"Cocooning" - what does it mean ?
Cocooning is a measure to protect those over 70 years or those extremely medically vulnerable by minimising interaction between them and others. This means that these people should not leave their homes. Even within their homes should minimise all non-essential contact with other members of their household.
This is to protect those who are at very high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 from coming into contact with the virus.
If you are over 70 years of age or have a condition which makes you extremely medically vulnerable you are strongly advised to cocoon, to reduce the chance of getting COVID-19 and follow the face-to-face distancing measures below.
The measures are:
We know that stopping these activities will be difficult. You should try to identify ways of staying in touch with others and participating in your normal activities remotely from your home.
strictly avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of COVID-19. These symptoms include high temperature and/or new and continuous cough
do not leave your house
do not attend any gatherings. This includes gatherings of friends and families in private spaces for example family homes, weddings and religious services
do not go out for shopping and, when arranging food or medication deliveries, these should be left at the door to minimise contact.
keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet, and social media
do use telephone or online services to contact your GP or other essential services
ensure you keep phones/devices charged, and have credit on your phone so that you can stay connected
However, you must not participate in alternative activities if they involve any contact with other people.
This advice will be in place for 2 weeks from 27 March 2020. This period will be kept under review.
Social welfare payments
All social welfare payments currently in payment will be paid as usual.
Special arrangements have been put in place for post office customers getting pensions and payments from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP). If you can’t collect your DEASP payment personally at your post office, you can nominate a person (Temporary Agent) to collect the payment on your behalf. The person collecting the payment must bring your Public Services Card (this is also your Free Travel Pass), and their own valid photographic ID like a passport, driving licence or Public Services Card..
The new COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment is for people aged between 18 and 66 who have lost employment related to coronavirus.
The enhanced Illness Benefit payment is for people aged between 18 and 66 who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or who have been medically required to self-isolate. You can read general information about social welfare payments and coronavirus.
The DEASP has an income support helpline for people impacted by coronavirus. The information team can advise on the most suitable income supports for your circumstances and give information about how to apply. Call (01) 2481398 or 1890800024
Support services for older people
ALONE, the organisation that supports older people, launched a national support line and additional supports for older people who have concerns or are facing difficulties during the coronavirus restrictions. The support line will be open Monday to Friday, 8am-8pm, by calling 0818 222 024, and hours may be extended to meet demand.
SeniorLine provides a Freefone service every day of the year 10am-10pm, including all public holidays. Callers concerned about coronavirus will get the most up-to-date guidance recommended by Government sources. You can contact Senior Line on 1800 80 45 91.
The Alzheimer Society of Ireland provides advice and support for vulnerable people living alone (pdf) during the coronavirus pandemic. While the group does not offer personalised medical advice, their service can direct you towards reliable sources of information. You can contact the Alzheimer National Helpline team on 1800 341 341, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Live Chat at alzheimer.ie.
The Age Action Information Service also provides a service for older people to ensure that they can access accurate and timely information about the virus. The service is available Monday to Friday 9.30am—5pm on 01 4756989.
If you are a cancer patient or a former cancer patient, you can get information and advice from the Irish Cancer Society. Cancer Nurseline: Freephone 1800 200 700 (Monday-Friday 9-5) General enquiries: 01-2310500
The Citizens Information Phone Service (CIPS) is funded and supported by the Citizens Information Board to provide a comprehensive and confidential telephone information service. You can contact CIPS by phone from 9am to 8pm, Monday to Friday, on 0761 07 4000.
Galway office: 0761 07 7600
CIPS also operates a Live Advisor instant chat service for people with hearing and speech difficulties and others who have difficulty communicating by telephone. Live Advisor is available between 9am and 5pm (Monday to Friday).
Other useful local numbers:
St. Vincent de Paul Loughrea: 086 0551134
Loughrea Helpline for elderly and vulnerable: 087 2756079
Loughrea Primary Care Centre, Lake Road: 091 847820 / 872700
Intreo (social welfare office) Loughrea: 091 576870
Loughrea Family & Community Resource Centre: 086 3449950
Pharmacies across the country will remain open and medicines will continue to be available to treat patients.
Killians: 091 841589
Walshs: 091 870928
Lakeshore: 091 842490
Leahys: 091 841236
Weavers: 091 871380
Brogans: 091 842527
Some Local Link services have offered to deliver critical medical supplies to older people, and other vulnerable groups, within rural areas during the coming weeks. To find out more contact your Local Link provider. Galway Local Link: 091 842384
The Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU), along with the gas and electricity suppliers recognise that some customers may be isolated at home over the coming days and weeks.
With effect from 8am on 17 March 2020, the following measures have been put in place to help you remain connected to your electricity and gas supplies during this period:
• Domestic disconnections are suspended until 29 March
• Emergency credit levels for prepaid (Pay As You Go) gas meters will increase from €10 to €100
• Suppliers will offer online and over the phone top up services if you have a prepaid (Pay As You Go) electricity meter and cannot reach a shop