As the weather turns colder, Public Health chiefs are encouraging everyone to lend a helping hand to vulnerable people this winter.

The elderly and those with long term health conditions are particularly susceptible at this time of year to illnesses and are often isolated.

The Met Office yesterday (Monday 11 January, 2016) issued a cold weather alert for the West Midlands and Councillor Sandra Samuels, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: "Anyone can help elderly friends or relatives by checking on them regularly.

"This is particularly important during severe weather, ensuring their home is warm and they have everything they need to manage during the cold spell.

"Picking up shopping or medicines for them during bad weather can make all the difference and could prevent vulnerable people from having to leave the house themselves and risk a fall."

Top tips for helping a vulnerable person over winter include:

  • dropping in on an older neighbour or friend once a week - or more often if the weather turns cold
  • making sure their home is heated to at least 18°C to 21°C in winter
  • encouraging vulnerable people to get heating and cooking appliances safety checked and to keep their home well ventilated
  • ensuring the person they are looking in on is eating well and has the essentials as well as meals and soups in the cupboard
  • asking if they can collect any prescriptions or take the person to the GP for appointments
  • encouraging older and vulnerable people who feel unwell to visit a pharmacist or call NHS 111 for advice

Councillor Samuels added: "It's really important that we all do our bit to ensure older people stay well this winter, so I'd encourage everyone to always keep an eye out for vulnerable people, particularly during the colder months - even if it's just a case of popping in to see how they are and share a pot of tea."

Dr Angie Bone of Public Health England said: "Most of our advice on keeping warm in cold weather may seem like common sense, but it's important that we make the point that people should think about how cold can affect them."

For more information on staying well this winter, please visit Type=links;Linkid=6641;Title=Stay Well This Winter;Target=_blank;.

  • released: Tuesday 12 January, 2016