Derbyshire health leaders have backed an NHS campaign urging people to check that elderly friends and neighbours are warm and well this winter.
The plea was made this week by NHS Southern Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) which called on residents to sign up to a Winter Friends pledge.
The promise says: “I will take time out this winter to look in on an elderly friend or neighbour to make sure they are warm and coping well.”
Those who sign the pledge will get free cold weather alerts and email tips throughout the winter to help them do their bit. To sign up, visit www.nhs.uk/winterfriends.
Last winter, around 31,000 people died in England because of cold weather. Most of these people were over 75, and many of their deaths could have been avoided.
Every year, hundreds of thousands of older people spend much of the winter alone and lonely.
Dr Sheila Newport, Chair of NHS Southern Derbyshire CCG, said:
“Older people, especially those who are more vulnerable, can become isolated in the winter months, and the cold weather can have a serious impact on their health.
“Looking in on an elderly neighbour can make a huge difference, helping to prevent loneliness and making sure they are safe and warm. We would encourage everyone to sign the Winter Friends pledge and help their local community, as well as elderly relatives and friends, to give them the support they need.
“People need to remember to keep their house warm, keep cupboards well stocked with food in case of a cold weather spell, and wrap up warm when out and about.”
There are five ways in which people signing the Winter Friends pledge can help:
- Drop in on an older neighbour or friend once a week – more often if the weather turns very cold
- Make sure living rooms are heated to around 21C and bedrooms to 18C
- Ensure the person you are looking in on is eating well and has tinned meals and soups in the cupboard
- Ask if you can collect any prescriptions or take the person to the GP for any appointments
- If it snows, clear their path or door for them.
The CCG plans and buys healthcare for 525,000 patients.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
NHS Southern Derbyshire CCG represents 57 GP practices and is responsible for the healthcare of 525,000 people. It is one of four clinical commissioning groups in Derbyshire.