As the cold spell sets in and weather conditions become increasingly unpleasant, Royal Voluntary Service in partnership with SGN is launching advice to help the many older people who are left feeling isolated and vulnerable.
The charity has teamed up with SGN, one of the UK’s largest gas network companies, to produce a free leaflet offering tips on staying physically and emotionally well whatever the weather.
Tips on staying safe and well this winter include:
· Keep an eye on weather forecasts, particularly severe weather warnings from the Met Office
· Don’t take any risks in bad weather. If you have to go out, make sure you wear shoes with a good grip to avoid unnecessary falls
· Wear warm clothes in layers and, if you can, get up and move around. If your mobility is more limited do some chair exercises to help you stay warm and active
· Make sure gas appliances have a regular service and a gas safety check every 12 months
· Keep torches, a battery powered radio and spare batteries easy to find in case there is an unexpected power cut
· Look out for any warning signs that your gas appliances aren’t working correctly e.g. lazy yellow or orange flames instead of crisp blue ones, black marks on or around the appliance and too much condensation in the room.
Royal Voluntary Service Chief Executive, Catherine Johnstone CBE, said: “As the colder weather sets in, some older people need to start thinking about how they can keep well and preparation plays an important part in that. The Stay Safe, Warm and Well leaflet provides a prompt or reminder for people to find out how to stay well and safe in winter and to flag more about what services are available to them.”
“Royal Voluntary Service volunteers can help with things like transport after a stint in hospital or to medical appointments, picking up prescriptions or getting some shopping in if the icy temperatures mean it’s harder than usual for an older person to get out and about. We are also encouraging anyone who has an older neighbour or relative to check on them regularly to make sure they have everything they need to stay happy and healthy during the winter months.”
Pamela Goee, Head of Community at SGN, said: “We’re supporting Royal Voluntary Service because we want to help improve the safety and well-being of older people who are isolated or more vulnerable. It is vital people are aware of gas safety, especially in winter. We’d recommend everyone has a carbon monoxide alarm. Knowing the simple warning signs to look out for such as ‘lazy’ yellow or orange flames instead of crisp blue ones or black marks on or around the appliance, could save a life. We would also recommend a locking cooker valve which is connected to the existing gas cooker pipework and stops the supply of gas once locked, eliminating the risk of the cooker being unintentionally turned on or left on.”
“If anyone smells gas, thinks they have a gas leak, or is worried that fumes containing carbon monoxide are escaping from a gas appliance, they should call the National Gas Emergency Number on 0800 111 999. Lines are open 365 days a year and calls are free.”
Royal Voluntary Service is one of Britain’s largest volunteering charities with over 25,000 volunteers supporting thousands of older people each month in hospitals and the community. The focus is on building confidence, improving well-being and keeping loneliness at bay through an array of social activities and more structured support. The charity is also one of the largest retailers in the NHS, with its network of cafes and shops providing a valued haven in hospitals.