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Dublin: 15 °C Wednesday 23 April, 2014

Public urged to check in on older people during cold weather

Older people and those with mobility issues can be particularly affected by the cold snap, the charity ALONE has said.

MEMBERS OF THE public are being urged to check in on vulnerable older people during the current bad weather.

The charity for older people in need, ALONE, said today that members of the public should check in on their older neighbours, family and friends who live on their own, as extreme cold temperatures can have a serious affect on them.

With the country currently experiencing low temperatures and snow, sleet and ice, the charity noted that those living alone or with limited mobility and health issues can particularly be at risk.

Concerns

It also urged older people concerned about their wellbeing during the cold snap to contact them for assistance and help if needed.

Seán Moynihan, CEO of ALONE, commented:

Continuing cuts and increases in fuel costs have put people under growing pressure in relation to heating their homes and we are conscious that the cold hurts older people more acutely. It’s vital that older people are proactive in staying warm during the current cold weather. As previous years have shown us the cold weather can be very damaging for older people and we are calling on all members of the public to remember their older neighbours living alone and to consider their needs.

The charity, which depends on donations from the public, has volunteers and staff ready to act on requests for assistance, and works with other charities and bodies to ensure all calls for assistance are responded to. ALONE can assist and advise on issues relation to food, heat, or medication.

Older people are advised:

  • Stay warm in cold weather by ensuring they have adequate heat
  • To wear layers of light but warm clothing
  • Eat at least one hot meal per day
  • Take frequent, gentle exercise to keep warm
  • And to stay indoors.

Older people are also advised to have a list of important phone numbers close to their home phone.

People aged over 65 are seven times more likely to be admitted to hospital due to low temperatures compared with those aged 18 to 44, while there is a significant rise in mortality rates amongst the over 65’s during the winter period.

Moynihan continued:

The damaging effects of cold weather are not always seen straight away, a variety of health problems can arise afterwards. With many older people having to choose to “heat or eat”, a visit from a member of the public to check on their heating levels in particular, but also food consumption, adequate security, and simply to offer some human contact, can have a huge effect.

Those who have concerns for an older person, or older people in need of assistance, can contact ALONE on 01 679 1032. For more, see www.alone.ie.

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