Author: Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety
Published on 04 October 2011 12:00 PM
"With the impending winter months ahead it is imperative that our older citizens do not feel isolated or vulnerable in what can be a difficult period for them."
That was the main message given by Health Minister Edwin Poots to the Fourth Annual Belfast Senior Citizens Convention at Belfast’s City Hall.
The Minister said: “When an event such as the severe weather experienced last winter occurs, some population groups can feel a greater impact than others – this was particularly the case for our older citizens last winter.
“While the Health Service will do all it can to look after our older people, we all have a responsibility to think about how we can look after them as well.
“I would encourage everyone to be proactive about helping the more vulnerable in our society this winter. It will not take much of someone’s time to watch out for neighbours and friends and those who may be more susceptible during a severe winter.
“Last winter there was a sense of 'everyone being in this together'. Everyone found it challenging to continue normal life. We all heard stories about people being snowed in, abandoned vehicles, water shortages, burst pipes, temporary re-housing, and school closures.
“But people got through, as is our way in Northern Ireland. We turned to each other and communities pulled together to assist and support each other.
“That is what I am calling on all our communities to do again this winter.”
Health Trusts and primary care professionals will be working together with other public and voluntary bodies to ensure that people known to their services who could become vulnerable this winter will be looked after.
The Minister concluded: “I ask all our older citizens to not be afraid this winter. Help will be there. If you do need help contact or speak to a friend, relative, trusted caller or health professional and they will ensure that your needs or concerns are addressed or brought to the attention of someone who can help.”