How to help your neighbours beat the chill and stay healthy and happy this winter
Older neighbours, friends and relatives can be more vulnerable in the winter months and may need a little extra help.
Regular checking in to make sure they're safe and well, have enough food and are warm can make all the difference.
As winter bites, people are urged to be a 'flu fighter' and look out for those who may be vulnerable to the cold.
There's a variety of things you can do to help them keep well this winter.
Help them to stay connected
Staffordshire connects is an online directory of help and support in communities across Staffordshire, designed to help people not just to live independently, but to connect to their community and enjoy life. A list of organisations and events is available on the Staffordshire Connects website, to help lonely or isolated people to meet new people and get involved. They might also be interested in joining a friendship group.
Local libraries and community centres are also great places to meet people over the festive period.
Tips to help them stay warm and well
Free flu vaccinations are available for:
- People aged 65 and over
- Pregnant women
- People with underlying health conditions
- Children aged two to nine
Tips to help people keep warm and well:
- Help them to keep rooms heated to at least 18c
- Help them to have regular hot meals and drinks throughout the day and help them to keep active to help stay warm
- Encourage them to wear a few layers of thin clothing rather than one thick layer, and wear shoes with a good grip that are slip resistant.
- Stay turned to the weather forecast and plan ahead with supplies.
- We are running a Staffordshire Warmer Homes initiative which is offering gas and central heating to people who don't currently have it and meet the criteria. People can find out more by calling 0333 202 4481 (freephone) or viewing our webpages.
Tips to help people avoid falls and get around
Get rid of the 'sloppy' slippers
Many have a favourite pair of slippers, but these are often old and worn. This is one of the main reasons elderly people have falls around the house, so why not buy them a new pair?
Clear ice from their doorways and paths to prevent falls and help them get out and about
You can clear a path easy with a shovel to remove the snow, and put a little salt to prevent it from re-freezing overnight. Please don't use the salt from grit in as this is used to keep the roads clear.
Remember to check the top of their drains as well for debris to help to stop flooding and ice forming.
Tips to help them stay independent at home
There's a great range of tech to help around the house, such as shoe horns, jar openers and smart speakers.
Devices such as Alexa or Google Home could make the perfect Christmas present for those friends and family members who are elderly or living with difficulties. They can help with tasks such as controlling heating and lighting in homes, setting reminders to take medication, listening to music on the radio and keeping in touch with loved ones. They can be bought online and in many stores.
Make sure they've got enough medication, it's in date and in order. It will really help them if they struggle to get out and about.
Want to help tackle loneliness with other people
Over 9 million people in the UK - almost a fifth of the population - say they are often or always lonely. Over 25,000 people won't speak to anyone this week.
Loneliness is associated with depression, sleep problems, impaired cognitive health and mental health problems. Being lonely can cause misery, avoidable illness and even death.
#DoingOurBit is sending a rallying call to everyone this festive season to just say hello to someone who might be lonely, call in on older neighbours or do something else to help.