A leading care group has issued an early winter appeal to the public of Lancashire to check up on friends, relatives and neighbours ahead of the severely cold weather forecast to grip the region soon.
With forecasts of bitterly cold weather in the weeks and months to come, particularly for the north of England, older people are particularly vulnerable to the dangers of hypothermia and falling, warns the Caring Hands Group
Those with heart or breathing problems may also have worse symptoms during a cold spell and for several days after temperatures return to normal.
Liz Walker, director of care at Caring Hands, said: “We’ve been fortunate so far but the cold weather has started and we don’t want it to catch older people off-guard. If others can just keep an eye on them and help them before the weather gets too severe then this may be all the difference in some cases.
“Hypothermia can quickly become life threatening and should be treated as a medical emergency in all cases. It is usually caused by being in a cold environment and can be triggered by a combination of things – such as being outdoors in cold conditions for a long time, living in a poorly heated house or falling into cold water.”
Simple tips issued to the elderly by Caring Hands include:
· Draw curtains at dusk and keep doors closed to block out draughts.
· 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 large item.
· Keep as active in your home as possible.
· Wrap up warm and wear shoes with a good grip if you need to go outside on cold days.
The Caring Hands group, with offices in Preston, Lytham, Penwortham – and with plans to open in Southport – provides the full range of domiciliary services across the North West including personal care, respite care, night care, live-in care and holiday care plus the option of a dedicated dementia service.
In Lancashire, there are 198,000 people over the age of 65, who account for 18 per cent of the county’s population living in the 12 local authority districts.