Vulnerable elderly 'need your time'
A charity has called on the public to remember vulnerable elderly neighbours who may be on their own over Christmas.
Alone said the festive period is a lonely and isolated time for some older people, having a knock-on effect on their physical and psychological health.
It is asking people to give just an hour to an older person in their community over the Christmas break who may need some assistance or company, especially during the prolonged cold snap.
Sean Moynihan, chief executive of Alone, said time costs nothing.
"While the extremely harsh weather conditions have enhanced community spirit and drawn attention to vulnerable older persons' needs, we need to remind the public about the hugely detrimental effects that isolation can have on a vulnerable older person," he said.
"It's very easy for people to get caught up in their own lives at Christmas time, and we're asking that people remember how important it is to visit and check in on older persons who may desperately be in need of company."
Alone combats isolation and loneliness via its network of more than 100 volunteers and its small, dedicated team of staff who provide companionship, support and housing to vulnerable older people in the community.
Mr Moynihan said many people may have abandoned the idea of visiting older relatives across the country this Christmas because of the arctic weather conditions. Instead, he urged people across the country to be aware of older persons living nearby and to call in on them.
"If you have decided not to travel to visit an older relative or friend living alone, please contact them frequently, and try to make contact with someone who lives nearby to ensure that they can call in on the person in question to spend some time with them," he added.
For information on Alone, call 01 679 1032.