International Day for Older Persons 2020



Irish Gerontological Society & ALONE Willie Bermingham Lecture to take place virtually on UN International Day for Older Persons

ALONE and The Irish Gerontological Society proudly welcome key speaker Executive Director at the World Health Organisation Health Emergencies Programme, Dr Michael Ryan.

Dublin, 1 October 2020:    ALONE and the Irish Gerontological Society (IGS), in association with RCPI, are delighted to present this year’s IGS ALONE Willie Bermingham Lecture, “Changing Horizons in Gerontology – United in Solidarity with Older People”, taking place this Thursday on UN International Day for Older Persons, which celebrates its 30th Anniversary this year. For the first time, the lecture will be presented as an online event from 2pm-3.30pm, in line with current COVID-19 guidelines.

The IGS ALONE Willie Bermingham Lecture is the keynote address at the Annual & Scientific Meeting of the Irish Gerontological Society. Dr Michael Ryan, Executive Director at the World Health Organisation Health Emergencies Programme, will be a key speaker at this year’s event, delivering a lecture on ‘Lessons from COVID 19 and how we can improve care and support for older people in our community’. ALONE and the IGS have assembled an esteemed panel for the lecture, which includes medical experts in older people’s health and advocates for older people’s rights.

Dr. Diarmuid O’Shea, President of the Irish Gerontological Society and consultant physician in geriatric medicine at St. Vincent’s University Hospital, Dublin, will act as Chairperson of the lecture. Dr O’Shea will give an opening address ahead of the lecture where panellists will be introduced and invited to participate to provide their insights towards the theme of this year’s lecture – ‘United in Solidarity with Older People’.

Dr. Diarmuid O'Shea, President of the Irish Gerontological Society stated, “I am delighted Dr Mike Ryan is addressing the Irish Gerontological Society on United Nations International Day of Older Persons.  By honouring us with his contribution we also acknowledge the wonderful work he has done around the world in shaping the response to managing this and other pandemics.  We look forward to hearing Dr Ryan’s insights into how, we as a country, can learn lessons from our collective experiences of battling COVID 19 and other pandemics to improve how we deliver support and care to all of us as we age in Ireland.”

Seán Moynihan, CEO of ALONE said, “The emergence of COVID-19 has caused an upheaval across the globe, with older people among the most affected groups. We are very pleased to have Dr. Ryan on board for this year’s ALONE IGS Willie Bermingham lecture to address the new and challenging issues faced by older people in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and discuss the steps that can be taken to support older people in communities across the country. We cannot forget about our older people amid this crisis; on this year’s UN International Day of Older Persons, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, it is important that we acknowledge the impact of the pandemic on our older people, and work with and for them to assist them through this difficult time.”

ALONE is encouraging older people who need advice to call ALONE on 0818 222 024 from 8am-8pm, seven days a week. Contact ALONE if you have concerns about your own wellbeing, or the wellbeing of an older person you know. Further information can be found on



Representatives from ALONE and IGS are available for interview or comment on issues which affect older people, including healthcare, loneliness, pensions, housing, homelessness, and technology.

Full details about this event and biographies of panel members are available at this link

About the Irish Gerontological Society

Founded in 1951, The Irish Gerontological Society (IGS) is one of the oldest multidisciplinary societies in the world concerned with gerontology: the science and study of the ageing process. We are engaged with research, education and practice in the field of ageing.  This includes the study of changes in older people’s physical and cognitive health, and the social changes people experience as they age.


ALONE is a national organisation that strives to enable older people to age at home, safely and securely, for as long as they wish. We work with all older people, including those who are lonely, isolated, frail or ill, homeless, living in poverty, or are facing other difficulties. We provide an integrated system of Support Coordination, Practical Supports, Befriending, a variety of Phone Services, Social Prescribing, Housing with Support, and assistive technology. We use support plans, provide a point of contact for access to health, social care, housing, transport and other arising needs using technology and other services and activities to improve physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. We have nearly 3000 volunteers throughout the Country who conduct and provide practical supports to older people, visits and phone calls, linking older people into social activity and being a companion.

Contact ALONE on 0818 222 024.

For more information, contact:

Fionnuala Ennis, Limelight Communications, 086 319 9226

Kathryn Byrne, Limelight Communications,, 085 233 6033