Elderly and vulnerable urged to fight the freeze and Stay Well This Winter
People in Shropshire are being encouraged to take steps to keep themselves warm and well as winter weather conditions continue to make life difficult for the most vulnerable.
Last year there were 15 per cent more deaths during the winter months than in non-winter months, and there is strong evidence that some of these excess winter deaths were related to cold temperatures and living in cold homes.
Elderly people and those with existing respiratory illnesses are often the hardest hit when the temperatures drop – but keeping warm can help to prevent some illnesses which might otherwise result in hospital stays or worse.
Shropshire Council’s public health and adult services teams have the following useful advice to help you keep warm at home and stay well this winter. People with neighbours, friends or family members who they feel may be especially vulnerable are also urged to pay them a visit and make sure they are coping with the cold weather.
- Keep warm at home
- Ensure your home is heated to at least 18°C (65F). You may prefer your living room to be slightly warmer.
- Draw your curtains at dusk and keep your doors closed to block out drafts.
- Keep your windows close to stop heat from escaping.
- Have regular hot drinks and eat at least one hot meal a day if possible – eating regularly helps keep energy levels up during winter.
- Wear several layers of warm clothes (rather than one chunky layer).
- Keep as active in your home as possible – try not to sit still for more than an hour at a time.
- Get financial support
- Grants, benefits and advice are available to make your home more energy efficient, so it stays warmer in winter and costs less to heat.
- Visit www.gov.uk/phe/keep-warm for more information.
- Look after yourself
- Over 65s and people with long-term illnesses are entitled to a free flu jab from the NHS – it’s not too late to get yours so contact your pharmacist for more information.
- Visit your local pharmacy for advice at the first sign of minor winter ailments like coughs, colds or sore throats – don’t wait for your illness to get worse.
- When you go outdoors wrap a scarf around your mouth to protect your lungs from cold air. Wear shoes with a good grip.
- Have your heating and cooking appliances checked by a Gas Safe registered engineer to make sure they are working correctly.
- Contact your water and power suppliers to see if you can be on the Priority Services Register, a service for older and disabled people.
Karen Calder, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for health and well-being, and Chair of Shropshire’s Health and Well-Being Board, said:
“It’s hugely important to make sure you stay warm when the winter really bites. That may seem obvious to some people but for the most vulnerable in our communities this can be easier said than done – particularly for elderly people with conditions such as dementia which can mean they don’t feel the cold.
“At this time of year the weather can turn quickly from being relatively mild and spring-like to becoming extremely cold – as we’ve seen locally over the past couple of weeks.”
Lee Chapman, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for adults, added:
“Our message to older people and those with disabilities or long-term illnesses in Shropshire is to follow our advice to keep warm and keep well when it’s cold outside. We would also urge others to be a good neighbour and check in on people you know who may need some support to fight the freeze.”
For more information to how to stay safe and well this winter, visit shropshire.gov.uk/stay-safe-and-well-this-winter/
- Further information