SNOW: Make sure elderly and vulnerable residents are taken care of
WITH snow causing disruption across Gloucestershire, residents are being reminded to check on older or vulnerable people.
In the cold and snow older people tend not to go out due to fear of falling over, meaning they may run out of essential supplies.
Village and Community Agents along with support workers and care providers have been out in force checking on vulnerable people across the county.
WVS – which cooks and delivers hot meals across the county – is also operating a normal service.
Gloucestershire County Council cabinet member for health and wellbeing Cllr Andrew Gravells (Con, Abbey) said it was important residents looked out for each other in bad weather conditions.
“This is particularly important for those who don’t have family living nearby and that might be cut off in rural areas, but people in busy towns can feel isolated too,” he said.
“We would ask milkmen and postmen to check on people they know might need help on their rounds.
It can be very lonely for people who can normally get out and about but who are temporarily housebound – just knowing that someone is there to help if necessary can remove a lot of worry and anxiety.”
GCC have issued a number of tips for taking care of elderly or vulnerable people in cold weather:
- Encourage them to use a blanket or rug or wear a dressing gown and drink hot drinks to keep warm while sitting. If someone seems less with-it than usual, it could be that the cold is affecting them – get more advice from NHS Direct if necessary.
- Make sure paths are cleared and well salted. Many older people are worried about falling on icy roads and paths and shopping is difficult, so check elderly neighbours have enough food and milk to last over the snowy period.
- Wrap up warm, inside and out. Several thin layers of clothes are better than one thick layer. People with heart or respiratory problems should stay inside during cold periods.
- Make sure homes are kept warm. Main living rooms should be between around 18-21C (64-70F) and the rest of the house at a minimum of 16C (61F). Hot water bottles or electric blankets can also be used – although not at the same time – to keep warm in bed.
- Check portable gas heaters are safe.
- Make sure there is a supply of fuel within safe reach.
- Ensure people who take regular medication have sufficient stock to get through the cold period. If anyone is uneasy leaving home to collect medication, they can contact the local pharmacy as most offer a collection service.
If you have any concerns about an older or vulnerable person contact GCC’s adult helpdesk on 01452 426868.
For 24 hour health advice NHS Direct can be contacted on 0845 46 47 or www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk
Advice on taking care of yourself and others during cold periods can also be found at www.warmandwell.co.uk