'Reach out': People urged to help isolated elderly
Don Johnson considers himself one of the lucky ones.
Despite living on his own in a house in Clontarf, north Dublin, the 67-year-old pensioner has three adult daughters who visit and recently welcomed his first grandchild into the family.
While he doesn't consider himself to be lonely, he knows how difficult and isolating it can be for seniors to live on their own without family or friends to keep an eye out for them or drop by for a friendly chat.
"A lot of people don't want to let the world know," he said.
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Recent reports of elderly people being found dead in their homes months after they were last seen is a tragic indictment of the social isolation that exists in modern Ireland, he said.
"It's a great country but you have to get the message out - there is help out there," he said.
He was speaking as the cold weather campaign launched yesterday by the charity Alone and Dublin City Council urged the public to check on elderly neighbours over the winter months to ensure they are safe and warm, or may just want a bit of company.