ALONE, the charity which supports older people, has recorded a significant increase in calls for support in the second half of last year.

During November and December, ALONE processed more than 1,000 calls. This amounts to a 50% increase in the number of appeals made to it earlier in the year.

The charity said that while freezing temperatures accounted for much of its volunteer work, it saw a significant increase in demand for its services on a monthly basis as the year went on.

During the cold snap, ALONE volunteers made 16 crisis interventions where a person's health or safety was at risk; some needed fuel or food and others required help getting medication.

The charity said that this period brought to light vulnerable older people in distress, some of whom had no running water, no heat or fuel, and others who needed emergency housing because of inappropriate shelter.

Chief Executive Sean Moynihan said the charity now dealt with more than 200 calls a month on average.

He expressed concern that the recent Budget would reduce the number of donations.