Nottingham City Council is urging residents to keep an eye on older friends, neighbours and relatives as winter starts to tighten its grip.
Across the UK during 2013-14 there were an estimated 18,200 extra deaths over winter, 14,000 of those were over 75. In Nottingham nearly 12 percent of the population are over 65 and those people who may be frail, or who have existing health conditions, are particularly at risk.
The City Council is asking for people to check on those they think could be at risk, even just to see if they need essentials from the shops. They could be in serious need of help, but you won’t know until you check.
Nottingham City Council Portfolio Holder for Adults, Commissioning and Health Councillor Alex Norris said: “We’re asking everyone to remember the needs of friends, relatives and neighbours who could be at risk. Just a small gesture like offering a helping hand or even being a friendly face to neighbours who may be in need can go a long way. A small act of kindness can make a real difference to someone’s life.
“Perhaps just popping in for five minutes for a friendly chat can help. Your neighbour may welcome some company but didn’t want to bother anyone. By helping them to keep warm, picking up essentials like food or medicine to prevent them going out unnecessarily, or making sure they can safely get in and out of their home in icy conditions, you could really make a difference.”
Just last month Nottingham City Council launched the ‘Looking After Each Other’ programme. It’s a partnership by the Council, Nottingham CVS, and the NHS Nottingham City Clinical Commissioning Group. It aims to help vulnerable adults in Nottingham through increasing social action, volunteering and active citizenship across the city.
Here are 10 tips to help yourself and others stay warm and well this winter:
Heating your home
As a general guide, living rooms need to be around 21 degrees C, and bedrooms around 18 degrees C. It’s a good idea to check heating systems are working properly before the cold weather sets in.
Look for financial help
Make sure you are receiving all the financial support you are entitled to, which will help towards heating bills.
Insulating your home
Loft insulation can save up to £180 and cavity wall insulation can save up to £140 a year on your bills. Grants are available from utility companies. Call your gas or electricity company.
It’s important to keep moving, even if you’re housebound. People who have difficulty walking can also exercise in a chair.
Make sure you or the people you look after wrap up before going out in bad weather. Several layers are better than one thick layer.
It’s important for everyone in an ‘at risk’ group to get a flu jab – this could mean you as well as the people you look after. Check with your doctor if you need more information.
Eat for heat
Eat for warmth, regular hot meals and drinks provide both warmth and energy.
Keep an eye on the weather
Make sure you check the weather forecast regularly.
It’s a good idea to keep a range of basic food, including vegetables, in the freezer and cupboards – and don’t forget to stock up on pet food!
Keep a couple of bottles of clean water in storage in case of frozen pipes. Ensure you have a good supply of all the medication you take each day plus basic cough and cold remedies. Keep a snow shovel, rock salt, torch, spare batteries and a first aid kit handy.
Keep in contact
Look out for friends, family relatives or neighbours who may be more vulnerable to the cold, especially if they have long-term medical conditions.