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As Storm Ciaran hits the UK, Age UK calls on everyone to ‘look out for older people’

By: Age UK
Published on 02 November 2023 11:00 AM

As parts of the UK braces for the possible impact of Storm Ciaran in the next couple of days Age UK is calling on people to look out for older family members, friends and neighbours.

Two red alert ‘danger to life’ warnings were issued by the Met Office earlier this week because of the strong winds and heavy rain conditions. There are now two amber warnings for wind and rain and a number of yellows for rain for today and tomorrow[i], all of which can be especially dangerous for older and vulnerable people, and those with mobility issues or who may not be steady on their feet.

With the heavy winds, rain and possible flooding there are additional risks, particularly for those who live alone, may be in poorer health or have less mobility. It is those people who rely on hearing or walking aids, or medical equipment such as stair lifts, oxygen or dialysis machines, who can be severely impacted by storms, power loss and heavy rain and may become isolated at home and cut off from their family and friends.

During severe weather a friendly phone call or an offer to help with shopping or to pick up medications could be a lifeline for someone who feels isolated at home during this stormy spell.

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK said: “The weather is becoming more extreme, and we need to do more in advance and when disasters hit to safeguard older people. While many can cope when there are power losses, floods and storms, others, including those who are living alone or who are isolated, seriously unwell or living with dementia, will need extra support. As volatile weather becomes more common, we must up our game.  

“We need to think about a whole host of practical things like how to ensure an older person isn’t stuck halfway upstairs on a stair lift if the electricity goes down; or what to do if an older person dependent on a particular drug is unable to get hold of it if local shops are cut off or flooded. The nightmare scenario is that an older person is left marooned upstairs at home and forgotten during a bad storm or flood: the emergency services do a fantastic job and communities often rally round magnificently too, but we can’t leave these things to chance. We need to prepare.

“We also advise any older person at risk from heavy rain or storms and their families to think about how they can plan for an emergency, just in case; to make sure that home insurance is up to date and to let friends and family know how best they can get in touch if there is an emergency – particularly if you don’t currently use a mobile phone. And don’t forget to plan for your pets too if you have them!”

Our top tips for older people and their friends and neighbours to prepare in the event of a storm:

  1. Secure loose objects in gardens like tools or ladders.
  2. Stay indoors as much as is possible. If you do need to go out be careful of exposed areas where there might be strong side winds.
  3. Keep an eye on the weather forecast. You can watch it here or download the Met Office App for up-to-date weather at your fingertips.
  4. Telephone 105. Remember the number 105, which is a free number, to find information during a power cut.
  5. Write down or print emergency contact numbers, including your fire and rescue service, local authority flood services, local Age UK, energy, water and phone suppliers and distributors, and insurer. Put them somewhere you will remember and can easily access, e.g. by your fridge, phone or door.
  6. Check in on older neighbours and relatives who live alone, are ill or with mobility problems or those particularly at risk, who rely on an oxygen machine or stairlift, as well as those with long-standing illnesses and difficulties who can’t easily get out of the house.
  7. sign up to your energy distributor’s Priority Services Register to receive additional help in a power cut. There is more information available here:
  8. Make sure you have everything you need. Check you've got enough medication and food in case it's harder to leave the house. A bottle of water could be handy if the water supply is interrupted.
  9. Have torches handy around the home in case of a power cut. And some spare batteries too.
  10. Plan ahead when driving. Try to avoid going out in the car in bad weather if possible, and make sure you follow advice on driving conditions near you. If you do need to go out, pack up the following kit in case you get stuck: blankets, a bottle of water or flask of hot drink, some snacks, a shovel, a de-icer or scraper, a mobile phone and charger.

If you are in an area where you are expecting flooding:

  1. Monitor flood risks in your area through TV and (local) radio, and the Environment Agency’s Floodline Warnings Direct service or call 0345 988 1188. This also offers a personalised flood warning service.
  2. Write down or print emergency contact numbers, including your fire and rescue service, local authority flood services, local Age UK, energy, water and phone suppliers and distributors, and insurer. Put them somewhere you will remember and can easily access, e.g. by your fridge, phone or door.
  3. 3. Check in on older neighbours and relatives who live alone, are ill or with mobility problems. 6. Fully charge your mobile phone (if you have one) and keep it on you. Many landline phones don’t work in an emergency, so have a non-electric landline phone to hand and know where to plug it in. Charge batteries and chargers for equipment like radios or hoists.
  4. Keep a torch in an easy-to-remember place, with spare batteries, and check it is working regularly. Have candles and matches to hand – BUT be sure to use candles safely, for example by using candle holders, keeping them away from animals and children, and putting them out before you go to bed.
  5. Make sure you can easily find any essential medications in the dark by placing them in a memorable place, ideally in a waterproof container.

AGE UK Information and Advice
Age UK offers support through-out free advice line on 0800 169 6565. Lines are open 8am-7pm, 365 days a year. We also have specialist advisers at over 140 local Age UKs.

Find a local Age UK in your area here:



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Last updated: Feb 05 2024

Notes to editors:

Age UK is a national charity that works with a network of partners, including Age Scotland, Age Cymru, Age NI and local Age UKs across England, to help everyone make the most of later life, whatever their circumstances.

In the UK, the Charity helps more than seven million older people each year by providing advice and support.  It also researches and campaigns on the issues that matter most to older people. Its work focuses on ensuring that older people: have enough money; enjoy life and feel well; receive high quality health and care; are comfortable, safe and secure at home; and feel valued and able to participate.

Age UK’s subsidiary charity, Age International, supports older people globally in over 30 developing countries by funding programmes such as vital emergency relief and healthcare and campaigning to raise awareness and change policies.

Age UK is a charitable company limited by guarantee and registered in England (registered charity number 1128267 and registered company number 6825798). Charitable services are provided through Age UK and commercial products are offered by the Charity’s Community Interest Company (CiC) (registered company number 1102972) which donates its net profits to Age UK (the Charity)


For more information

Contact the Age UK Media team on 020 3033 1430 during office hours (Mon-Fri 08:30-17:30) or for out-of-hours media support please email 

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