Doctors in Devon encourage people to look in on the elderly
Doctors in Devon are asking people to look in on their elderly relatives, neighbours and friends now that the cold weather is setting in and to make sure they keep warm, do not feel lonely and are coping well. Last winter, about 31,000 people in England died as a result of cold weather. Most of these people were over 75 and many of these deaths could have been avoided. Every year, hundreds of thousands of older people spend much of the winter alone and lonely. But, as the film reminds viewers, it doesn't have to be this way.
NHS Choices is aiming to get 100,000 people to sign the Winter Friends pledge this winter. Everyone who signs the pledge will get free cold weather alerts and email tips throughout the winter to help them do their bit. When the cold weather sets in you can make a difference by looking in on a neighbour who is elderly or vulnerable. Here are a few tips for Winter Friends:
- Make sure older people have enough food including plenty of tinned meals and soups which they can heat up in case they can't leave the house for a few days.
- Check their home is warm enough. The main living area should be around 21°C (70°F) and bedrooms should be 18°C (65°F).
- If they are worried about the costs of heating, check they are receiving their heating bill benefits, such as Winter Fuel Payment and Cold Weather Payment .
- If there are draughts, you may be able to help plug them.
- Many older people take medicines and everyone over 65 should have a free flu jab. Ask if there is anything you can do to help – picking up a prescription or giving them a lift to their GP, for instance. If you are unwell yourself, take real care not to pass it on.