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Neighbouring in the winter

The council is asking local residents to keep an eye out for vulnerable older neighbours, family members and friends who may be at greatest risk as a result of the freezing conditions.

Older people are particularly vulnerable as they may be unable to get out especially if they don't have family living nearby, because of the fear of falling and the risk of injury.

This may lead to them being unable to go shopping or collect prescriptions and therefore it is important to ensure they have enough supplies. You can also help by clearing pathways and salt them if possible.

The vulnerable are also more susceptible to the cold and therefore layering clothes is essential as well as drinking hot drinks throughout the day and moving around the house to keep warm and maintain body heat.

Parents should be aware of the potential dangers to their children during the heavy snow. Crossing roads, playing on thin ice and slippery footpaths can be extremely hazardous. Parents are also asked to be mindful of their children's behaviour and to warn them against throwing snowballs at passing vehicles and pedestrians which can cause accidents.

How to be a good neighbour

  • Encourage vulnerable people to wrap up and use a blanket or rug or dressing gown to keep them warm and drink hot drinks and eat regular hot meals. If someone seems less with-it than usual, it could be that the cold is affecting them - get more advice from NHS Direct if necessary on 0845 46 47.
  • Recommend using hot water bottles or electric blankets (but never both together) if the bedroom is cold at night.
  • Encourage them to close curtains and doors to keep heat in the rooms they use the most.
  • Make sure paths are cleared and well salted. Many older people are worried about falling on icy roads and paths and shopping is difficult, so check elderly neighbours have enough food and milk to last over the snowy period.
  • Check portable gas heaters are being used safely.
  • Check that they have a means of heating, at least in the room they are using and that any fuel is within safe reach.
  • Check people have any prescriptions they might need.

Useful telephone numbers

  • Seniorline: 0808 800 6565
  • British Gas 'here to HELP': 0845 605 2535
  • Home Energy Care: 0845 955 5404

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