I’ve done a lot of commuting lately while wrapped up in several layers of fleece and wool – not sure I was even recognisable under the scarf and hat. I’m not the only one. According to the news reports, last week saw the coldest night and morning of the winter so far. And we’re being warned of another cold snap coming soon. Snow and ice affect everyone, but in weather like this, we should take the NHS’s advice to look out for older neighbours in particular.

Our Live at Home Schemes expect an increase in referrals over the winter. It’s not hard to see how cold weather can affect an older person’s physical and mental wellbeing, especially if ice and snow are preventing them from getting out to do shopping or to keep appointments.

So Live at Home volunteers are especially hard at work making sure fridges and cupboards are stocked, keeping in contact so people don’t become isolated, driving and escorting people to appointments where possible (perhaps the scheme’s activities and lunch clubs), and generally providing support as needed to get through the winter.

What it’s really about is assisting with everything from the practical matters, like getting groceries, to the more emotional, like befriending phone calls and visits. Whatever the weather outside, there’s no reason for allowing the cold to reach into older people’s lives.

Alison Slater

Services Manager – Community Services

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