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Please keep an eye on elderly neighbours and family this winter

North East Lincolnshire CCG is urging people to look out for elderly or more vulnerable neighbours and family during the winter months.

When the weather turns cold, elderly people or those who aren’t otherwise fit and well can sometimes find themselves struggling and may not always ask for help.

Dr Peter Melton, Clinical Chief Officer at the CCG, said:
“It is important that over the winter months we check on neighbours and family members. Often elderly residents can feel isolated and less mobile when the cold weather strikes. Offering to collect essentials like food or medicine can prevent vulnerable residents from having to leave their homes during cold and wintery conditions.

“It takes very little time to check on a neighbour or elderly relative. Speak to them and ask how they are getting on. You may need to use judgement as many elderly residents often don’t like to admit they are in need of assistance

“During the winter months it’s vitally important that elderly residents are warm in order to prevent winter ailments. Taking simple steps to stay warm like wrapping up when you go out or keeping bedroom windows closed on winter nights can help ward off these illnesses.

“Keeping warm can help prevent more serious problems such as heart attack, stroke and pneumonia. If you suffer from a pre-existing condition, please ensure you take your medication with you when out in the cold as breathing cold air increases the risk of chest problems. People with asthma should wear a scarf over their nose and mouth to warm up the air before they breathe in.”

NHS England recommends that you prepare for the cold winter months to ensure you keep warm and healthy:
• Try to keep your house warm (18 to 21 degrees Celsius). If you can’t heat all of the rooms you use, heat the living room during the day and your bedroom just before you go to sleep. You could also use a hot water bottle in bed.
• Keep active when you’re indoors and try not to sit still for more than an hour or so.
• Eat well – try to make sure you have hot meals and hot drinks throughout the day and keep active in your home if you can.
• Wrap up warm whilst inside and outside. Layer your clothing and wear shoes with a good grip. If you have respiratory problems, stay inside if you can.

The Winter Planning community project, managed and run by Voluntary Action North East Lincolnshire (VANEL) is up and running again in North East Lincolnshire this year and their message is to make sure residents are prepared for the possibility of not being able to get out to the shops in the event of very bad weather. That means stocking up on food, medicines and other essentials just in case they are stuck inside for a day or two. You can get more information by visiting winterplanning.org.uk.

People can also call 01472 256 256 to contact the project which has volunteers across North East Lincolnshire who can help people get urgent supplies in extreme weather.

Councillor Jane Hyldon-King, Portfolio Holder for Health, Wellbeing and Adult Social Care at North East Lincolnshire Council said “Residents who find themselves stuck at home in extreme weather conditions and need advice can call the Single Point of Access helpline number on 01472 256 256.

“Council support and advice is also available to help residents warm their homes and lower energy costs. Not everyone identifies themselves as being in fuel poverty, but some residents may be anxious about home energy and fuel bills. Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to claim financial and practical help with heating your home”

To find out if you qualify for support, please contact the Home Energy Team at North East Lincolnshire Council on 01472 326296.

You can also get advice on energy saving schemes from:
• Citizens Advice Bureau (Grimsby) on 01472 252500
• Home Heat Helpline on 0800 33 66 99
• Energy Saving Advice Service on 0300 123 1234

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