Check on older neighbours during cold snap
Published on 17 January 2013 03:00 PM
Age UK is urging the public to check on older people living near them this weekend, after the Met Office announces a severe weather warning in some parts of the UK.
Age UK has responded to a severe weather warning by urging the public to keep an eye on an older neighbour or relative over the next few days - to make sure they stay safe and warm as the weather gets colder.
Parts of Wales, the west of England and Northern Ireland are expected to be particularly at risk of heavy snow fall on Friday; the Met Office has issued a severe weather warning for the UK and a red warning for upland parts of southern Wales.
Michelle Mitchell, Age UK's Charity Director General, commented: 'With a new wave of freezing weather fast approaching, it's vital that older people and their families take sensible precautions to protect themselves from the cold.'
Cold weather can seriously affect the health of older people; cold temperatures not only raise blood pressure which puts people at greater risk of heart attacks and strokes, they also increase the likelihood and severity of flu, chest infections and other respiratory problems.
Even in relatively mild winters, there are around 8,000 extra deaths for every one degree drop in average temperature.
Michelle Mitchell advised: 'Simple steps such as closing the bedroom window at night, keeping room temperature at 70°F (21°c) if at home during the day, and wrapping up well when outside, can literally save lives.
'Anyone who needs help or advice in the coming days or weeks should call Age UK Advice free of charge on 0800 169 65 65 or download our 'Winter wrapped up' guide (PDF, 733kb). Visit our Spread the Warmth website for more information - www.spreadthewarmth.org.uk.'
Action you can takeAge UK has issued the following advice for older people this winter:
- It's harder to judge temperatures as you get older. Use a thermometer to detect changes and act quickly. Keep your living room at 70°F (21°c) if possible.
- It's a common misconception that sleeping with the window open all year round is healthy. Keeping windows open on a winter night puts you at greater risk of a heart attack or a stroke. Close your windows at night and keep your bedroom at 65°F (18°c).
- Protect your fingers, mouth and head - these parts of your body are more sensitive to changes in temperature. Breathing in cold air can increase your chances of becoming seriously ill. Wrap up well when you go outside.
- Stay ‘flu-free'. A bout of winter flu can be dangerous as well as unpleasant. If you can, visit your GP for a flu jab - free to over 65s - and keep warm and eat well to help ward off infection.
Andy Page, Met Office Chief Forecaster, said: 'The snow is expected to be heaviest during Friday morning across Wales and the southern half of England.
'We should follow the advice of the emergency services and local authorities to help keep ourselves, our families and our communities safe in light of the forecast.'