Looking out for our neighbours this Christmas

With the cold weather really setting in – and with the festive period just around the corner – there is no more important time to look out for the vulnerable people in our local communities.

Do you know somebody, or do you have a neighbour, who might be feeling isolated and lonely?

Just think what a difference it could make to that person if you simply called in and said hello. You might spend some time with them over a cup of tea, check whether they need any shopping or make sure they have their medication.

Small gestures can have a big impact. And, as well as helping the elderly or infirm, the vulnerable or the isolated, we not only support their quality of life but also make a real difference to their health and wellbeing.

It’s estimated that a million elderly people spend winter alone in the UK. Many of those will live in areas where they are surrounded by neighbours who they just don’t see. Should it really be that way? Of course not so, if you have a neighbour who lives alone, please make a point of popping round – you might find that a bit of company is all they need to make their day.

There’s also lots of advice to help people stay warm and healthy in winter.

This includes wearing several layers of clothing, taking regular hot meals and drinks, making sure to move around and keeping a portable heater in the home, just in case. Flu vaccinations are advised and it’s useful to keep a good stock of tinned and frozen foods.

It’s recommended to have useful phone numbers to hand, such as the local GP surgery and people like a plumber, electrician and handyman. As a council, of course, we help local residents in many ways through our adult social care services. There are also times when the weather becomes really severe and we open up an emergency phone line, which is widely advertised.

Whilst the council and our partners provide care and support for many people, there will be others who aren’t known to us because they haven’t been in contact before. Perhaps, for example, they were previously looked after by relatives who have moved home or passed away.

So, now that we’ve entered the darkest and coldest time of year, please ask yourself if there’s anyone you can visit in your local neighbourhood. A bit of community spirit really does go a long way.

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