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Published on 26 February 2018 02:00 PM

Age Scotland is urging everyone to consider their older neighbours as the country braces for freezing weather.

Older people are especially vulnerable to the impact of cold weather, which can exacerbate existing health conditions such as respiratory problems, heart disease and dementia.

The cold can also increase blood pressure, and breathing in cold air can increase the risk of chest infections. As people get older, it takes them longer to warm up, which can be harmful to health.

Adam Stachura, Age Scotland’s Head of Policy and Communications, said: “Older people can be particularly vulnerable to the effects of cold weather, especially if they have a health condition or live in a hard-to-heat home. They can also be at risk of slips or falls on icy pavements.

“We would urge everyone to take extra care during this cold snap, wrap up warm, and make sure you are keeping your home at a comfortable temperature.

“We’d also encourage people to keep an eye on their older neighbours, friends and relatives and check if they need any extra help. Simply offering to do the shopping or popping in for a cup of tea and a chat could be a real lifeline for someone who is unable to leave their home.

“If you have any concerns about yourself or someone else, then please call our free Helpline for friendly advice on 0800 12 44 222.”

Here are a few tips on preparing for cold weather:

  • Stock up on food and essential medicines in advance. If necessary, ask someone to help you with shopping. Make sure you have at least one hot meal a day, as well as regular hot drinks.
  • Keep your living areas at 21 degrees C (or higher if you have a health condition) and other rooms at least 18 degrees C.
  • Several layers of clothing are better than one thick layer. Use a hot water bottle or electric blanket in bed (but not both at once).
  • Make sure your home isn’t losing heat by closing doors and curtains, and checking radiators and heaters are clear of furniture.
  • Keep a radio and torch handy in case of a power cut, and make sure your mobile phone is fully charged.
  • Stay active! When you’re indoors, try not to sit still for more than an hour. If you have difficulty walking, then just moving your arms and legs can help you keep warm.
  • Check local news and forecasts for updates and advice on cold weather.

For more information: Please contact Hazel Mollison, Media & PR Officer on 07801 500 663