22/12/2015 - Permalink

Make sure elderly neighbours stay well over Christmas

Related topics: Community / Health

With the festive season almost upon us, residents in Shropshire are being asked to take time to check on elderly neighbours who may be alone or vulnerable this Christmas.

Many older people may find themselves on their own for the first time this year due to the loss of a loved one, or they may have families who do not live nearby.

The current campaign by Age UK, “No One Should Have No One at Christmas”, highlights more than a million older people have not spoken to a friend, neighbour or family member for a month.

If you know your neighbour, or relative even, is in hospital and is ready to be discharged, see how you can help them home for Christmas. Research shows that patients are much happier in their own homes than in a hospital ward over the festive period, and it helps aid their recovery.

So, how can you help?

  • Call in and say “Hello” – let your elderly neighbours know you are available to help them. Provide them with your telephone number to reach you if needed.
  • Check on prescriptions – make sure they have adequate supplies of repeat prescriptions and medications to cover them during the holiday period.
  • Food supplies – check that they are adequately stocked with food supplies for the festive period. Fresh milk, bread and butter are staples that will save them leaving the house if the weather takes a turn for the worse.
  • Heating – talk to them about the importance of being warm. Check that their heating and other utility supplies are working properly. Ensure they have emergency contact details in the event of any problems.
  • Invite them round for Christmas dinner or another family meal – help them enjoy their Christmas too.

Karen Calder, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for health, and Chair of Shropshire’s Health and Well-being Board, said:

“The festive season is usually a time for celebration for many families, but for too many older people it can reinforce feelings of loneliness and loss. This can not only make you feel miserable, but can also have an impact on your physical and mental health too.

“We can all play an important role in ensuring older people feel valued and included, and taking the time to call in and check on them when they possibly most need help can make all the difference. It can also potentially help to prevent serious health issues affecting them.”

Lee Chapman, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for adult services, added:

“Winter can be a very challenging time for our must vulnerable residents, and it really saddens me to think there are elderly citizens in Shropshire who will be alone and vulnerable during this time of year.

“We can all play a part and become a good neighbour to the elderly people in our communities. If you have elderly people living close to you, it’s better to be overly concerned and make sure that everything is OK, than it is to realise that an elderly neighbour may have been ill or injured in their home and unable to contact anyone.

“I know everyone is so busy preparing for the forthcoming festivities. But please spare a thought for our elderly residents and be a good neighbour.”

To find out more about Age UK’s “No One Should Have No One at Christmas”, visit http://www.ageuk.org.uk/no-one/

For more information on how to stay safe and well over winter, visit https://shropshire.gov.uk/stay-safe-and-well-this-winter/.