A charity that provides support for older people in need of assistance is calling on members of the public to spend some time with older people living alone over Christmas.

ALONE has said that 120,000 older people live alone in Ireland, with approximately 10% of these in need of help or companionship.

The charity provides a volunteer befriending service to 200 older people.

It also offers 100 homes with lifetime tenancies for older people at risk of homelessness.

ALONE said calls for assistance and support increase dramatically during the winter.

Its volunteers will distribute food hampers to hundreds of older people in need during Christmas.

On Christmas Day, the volunteers will also bring hot dinners to older people living alone.

"Time costs nothing, so please give generously," said ALONE Chief Executive Seán Moynihan.

"At this time of year, it's vital that the public are reminded about the negative effects that isolation can have on certain older people.

"It's very easy for people to get caught up in their own lives at Christmas time.

"We're asking that people remember that a simple visit to an older person can make a huge difference to their wellbeing, as they may be desperately in need of some company."

Older people in need of assistance or advice can contact ALONE on 01-6791032.