Look after older people this winter

News from Shropshire Council

With the festive season upon us, Shropshire Council’s public health team is reminding people to take time to check on elderly neighbours or relatives who may be alone or vulnerable this Christmas, encouraging them to Stay Well This Winter.

Many older people may find themselves on their own for the first time this year due to the loss of a loved one, or they may have families who do not live nearby. It can be a lonely time of year for these people, and small actions such as a visit and a cup of tea can really help.

If you have a neighbour or relative who is in hospital and is ready to be discharged, see how you can help them home for Christmas. Research shows that patients are much happier in their own homes than in a hospital ward over the festive period and it helps aid their recovery.

How can you help?

Call in and say Hello – let your elderly neighbours know you are available to help them. Provide them with your telephone number to reach you if needed. 

Check on prescriptions – make sure they have adequate supplies of repeat prescriptions and medications to cover them during the holiday period. 

Food supplies – check that they are adequately stocked with food supplies for the festive period.  Fresh milk, bread and butter are staples that will save them leaving the house if the weather takes a turn for the worse.

Heating – talk to them about the importance of being warm. Check that their heating and other utility supplies are working properly. Ensure they have emergency contact details in the event of any problems.

Invite them round for Christmas dinner or another family meal – help them enjoy their Christmas too.

Karen Calder, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for health and well-being, and Chair of Shropshire’s Health and Well-being Board, said:

“The festive season is usually a time for celebration for many families, but for too many older people it can reinforce feelings of loneliness and loss. This can not only make you feel miserable but can also have an impact on your physical and mental health too.

“We can all play an important role in ensuring older people feel valued and included, and taking the time to call in and check on them when they possibly most need help can make all the difference. It can also potentially help to prevent serious health issues affecting them.”

For more information on how to stay well over winter www.nhs.uk/staywell. 

Shropshire Council’s ‘Stay safe and well this winter’ website also offers a range of advice and information, from helping vulnerable people to remain safe and well, to notifications of school closures and travel updates.

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