Cold Weather – Visiting Vulnerable People…

Many Organisations are encouraging people to check in on older people living alone, those who may not have a family, and those living in remote areas. There is now a concern that people who are house-bound by the weather and have not had regular visitors may be running out of supplies of food, fuel or medication.

Even older people who are physically fit and can drive have been house-bound by the weather and are now dependent on visitors calling to their homes.

You do not have to be a member of an organisation to call on somebody — you just have to be a good neighbour.
Please do not assume that somebody else in your area will visit — they may be depending on you to do so.

Advice from the HSE website for older people.

In order to stay well and warm this winter older people should take the following steps:

  • Dress correctly – wear layers, rather than one thick layer of clothing. Maybe wear a woollen or fleece hat in bed.
  • Remain active – don’t stay sitting for long periods. Spread your chores throughout the day to ensure to keep moving. Exercise daily, but avoid risks in wet/icy conditions;
  • Eat well – have at least one hot meal a day. Sip hot drinks regularly. Keep a flask of hot drink by the bed, in case you wake up cold;
  • Make sure you use your free electricity or gas units, if you receive the Household Benefits package;
  • Home – stock up provisions in case there is icy weather and you cannot go out;
  • Seal gaps around windows and doors. Insulate your home;
  • If you have not already received the winter flu vaccination from your doctor, make an appointment to do so today.

Dehydration can be an issue for people in cold weather – not drinking enough water when houses can be warm. Encourage people to have hot drinks.

When calling to a vulnerable person these may be helpful prompts:

  • Is Food provision sufficient?
  • Is the Water supply ok?
  • Is the person having warm drinks?
  • Is there a need to fill a medical prescription?
  • Is there adequate Fuel/heat in the house – many people had accidents bringing in coal/turf last winter? Are heaters safe?
  • Are there any messages/grocery items required?
  • Are animals looked after?

Kerry Community and Voluntary Forum