Look out for vulnerable relatives and neighbours this winter

As winter continues, Bay Health and Care Partners are encouraging people to look out for their elderly and vulnerable relatives and neighbours.

Isolation can be extremely harmful to people’s health - it is associated with depression, sleep problems, impaired cognitive health, heightened vascular resistance, hypertension, psychological stress and mental health problems.

Older people and those with long-term health conditions are particularly susceptible to illness and isolation during the winter months when it is harder to get out and about.

Dr Andy Knox, Director of Population Health and Engagement in Morecambe Bay said: “There are a number of ways you can help elderly and vulnerable people you may know;

  • “Drop in and see your neighbours once a week – and more often if the weather turns very cold.
  • “Check if they are feeling well, particularly if they don’t seem their usual self or they look unwell.
  • “Ask if you can collect any prescriptions they need or take them to any appointments.
  • “Make sure their home is heated to at least 18°C to 21°C throughout the winter.
  • “Ensure they are eating well and have a good supply of essential and store-cupboard food to keep them going.
  • “Encourage them to get heating and cooking appliances safety checked.
  • “If it snows, clear their path, front steps or doorway areas for them – or better still, encourage them to stay in.”

Dr Jim Hacking, GP in Morecambe Bay said: “The elderly and those with long term health conditions often feel isolated, which can lead to ill health.

“If you do know of anyone who is feeling unwell - encourage them to visit their local pharmacist or call 111 and a trained NHS healthcare adviser will be able to help them.”

Find out how you can help at: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/women60-plus/Pages/How-to-help-a-lonely-older-person.aspx