AS WE head into a coronavirus winter, a helping hand is being offered to the borough’s older residents, thanks to a leading charity.
The Royal Voluntary Service has produced an advice booklet providing practical tips on staying safe, warm and well this winter and signposts help if needed. It is aimed at the 1.7 million people in the UK who are over 70, and said to have no friends or family nearby to support them over the coldest time for the year.
The figure came from research commissioned by the charity and its supporter, Yakult, and represents one-in-five of the older population.
In a separate survey, just four in 10 over 70s told the charity that they stock up on essential food items like tinned goods in case they can’t get out, and only six in 10 cooks a hot meal each day (61%) in winter months.
Less than two thirds (62%) said they get their boiler or heating serviced every year and only three in ten have their carbon monoxide alarm checked annually.
Just one in four said they have emergency supplies put by, like a torch and batteries, and the same number keeps a list of emergency contacts to hand.
One third say they spend a lot of time sitting down over the winter months and over one in five (21%) do little or no physical activity.
The same percentage (21%) said they often feel cold.
To help older people and their friends, families and neighbours prepare for when temperatures drop, Royal Voluntary Service and Yakult have produced the booklet, which can be downloaded from its website.
Sam Ward, director of services and deputy chief executive at Royal Voluntary Service, said: “Coping in a Covid winter is going to be a particularly difficult experience for many older people, particularly those living alone and without support.
“We know that nearly one in five people aged 70 and over are dreading the winter months, and we want to provide as much support as possible to those that need it.
“Our new advice guide provides practical tips and information on where to turn for help if needed, like the Priority Services Register to receive support during power outages, our own local support services and how to register for NHS Volunteer Responder help, and the Virtual Village Hall.”
To download the booklet, visit: royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk/safe-warm-well