A helpline for older people has seen a surge in concerned calls about the coronavirus pandemic.

Senior Line - manned by older volunteers and run by the Third Age Foundation - has noted an estimated 85% increase in calls, with the coronavirus the main topic of conversation.

Senior Line programme manager Damian Leneghan said: "The coronavirus is causing a lot of concern.

"We've huge numbers of callers of people anxious and worried. There’s a lot of unknowns, a lot of sensationalism, and older people already feeling vulnerable will feel even more vulnerable."

Mr Leneghan spoke of the importance of keeping older people "connected" and informed during this time, and hopes people will check in with elderly family members and neighbours to make sure they are not feeling isolated.

Senior Line can be contacted on 1800-80-45-91.

ALONE is also offering coronavirus advice on 0818-222-024.

The Health Service Executive can be contacted on 1850-24-1850 or visit www.hse.ie