As temperatures fall across the country and weather conditions become increasingly challenging, loneliness and susceptibility to winter bugs can leave many older people feeling cold and vulnerable.
The Royal Voluntary Service Winter Wellness campaign aims to encourage older people to stay both physically and emotionally well, whatever the weather. The charity has teamed up with gas distribution company SGN to produce a free leaflet full of advice about how to keep safe, warm and in touch in winter.
Royal Voluntary Service volunteers provide support to help older people live independently in their own homes. Paying regular visits to older people in their community, either to deliver meals, to have a chat, or accompany them on outings, our volunteers make sure older people have the help they need to get through the winter months.
Royal Voluntary Service Chief Executive David McCullough said: “Winter can be a very worrying time for older people who are more at risk of health problems and injuries related to the weather so it’s important that they are prepared. We encourage older people to make sure they have stocked up on basics, have frequent hot drinks and warm meals and maybe just keep one or two rooms nice and warm instead of trying to heat their whole home.
“Royal Voluntary Service volunteers can help with things like transport to medical appointments, picking up prescriptions or getting some shopping in if the icy temperatures mean it’s harder than usual for an older person to get out and about. We are also encouraging anyone who has an older neighbour or relative to check on them regularly to make sure they have everything to need to stay happy and healthy.”
Other tips on staying safe and well this winter include:
- Keep an eye on weather forecasts, particularly severe weather warnings from the Met Office
- Wear warm clothes in layers and if you can, get up and move around. If your mobility is more limited, do some chair exercises to help you stay warm and active
- Keep torches, a battery powered radio and spare batteries easy to find in a power cut
- Look out for any warning signs that your gas appliances aren’t working cor-rectly e.g. lazy yellow or orange flames instead of crisp blue ones, black marks on or around the appliance and too much condensation in the room.
- Ask about any benefits, grants and discounts you might be entitled to such as pension credits, winter fuel payments and insulation.
Pamela Goee, Head of Community at SGN, said: “We’re extremely proud to be supporting the Royal Voluntary Service Winter Wellness campaign for the second year running. We’re supporting the campaign because we want to help improve the safety and wellbeing of older people. It is vital people are aware of gas safety, especially in winter. We’d recommend everyone has a carbon monoxide alarm and knows the warning signs to look out for. Spotting a simple sign such as a ‘lazy’ yellow or orange flame on your gas appliance instead of a crisp blue one could save your life.”
“If anyone does smell gas, think they have a gas leak, or is worried that fumes containing carbon monoxide are escaping from a gas appliance, they can call the National Gas Emergency Number free anytime on 0800 111 999.”
Royal Voluntary Service supports over 100,000 older people each month to stay independent in their own homes for longer with tailor made solutions. Through its army of volunteers, the charity runs services such as Good Neighbours (companionship), Meals-on-Wheels and Books-on-Wheels that alleviate loneliness and help older people. We also provide practical support for older people who have been in hospital through its On Ward Befriending and Home from Hospital services and via its network of retail shops and cafes.
Download copy of the Winter Wellness leaflet or call 0845 608 0122 for a printed copy.