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Supporting older and vulnerable people this winter (07/12/11)
The arrival of wintry weather conditions has prompted The Highland Council to remind people to look out for those in the community who might need a little extra help – in particular older people, people with disabilities and others who may be especially vulnerable at this time of year. During the bad weather last winter, there were many examples of individuals and communities looking out for each other and this support helped to ease anxiety and distress by providing very practical help and assistance.
The public is asked to rise to the challenge once more.
The Council urges everyone to think and plan ahead by ensuring they have sufficient fuel to heat their homes, heating systems are in good working order and they have basic food supplies to ensure that do not have to venture outside when conditions underfoot are icy and treacherous. The latter is especially important in preventing falls and injury to those who are less steady on their feet or who have mobility issues. Interruptions to power can also be a problem during bad weather. Again planning ahead is advised so that people are able to keep themselves warm with alternative heat sources or with extra bedding and clothing
This message has been reinforced by Councillor Margaret Davidson, Chairman of the Council’s Housing and Social Work Committee, and Councillor Bet McAllister, the Council’s champion of older and vulnerable people who met with older people during a recent visit to the James Cameron Centre, Dalneigh, Inverness.
Councillor Davidson said: “Those of us who have elderly neighbours can help by keeping an eye on them over the colder months by ensuring that they have plenty of fuel if they have open fires, or making sure that heating is switched on. A well-stocked winter store-cupboard with tinned soups etc. prevents the need to go out to shops during spells of bad weather.”
Councillor McAllister added: “The arrival of colder and wintry weather is always an anxious time for older and more vulnerable people This is the time for neighbours and young people to show good citizenship by lending a helping hand. It may be clearing a path of snow or running an errand or just keeping an eye on an elderly neighbour.”
Some people are in receipt of services that support them to live as independently as possible in their own homes; Care at Home is one example of this. Where the Council is responsible for providing these services, or has commissioned another agency to do so on its behalf, it will make every effort to ensure they continue through bad weather.
As with other times of the year, emergency situations do arise. The public is reminded that outside of normal working hours, The Highland Council Social Work Emergency Duty Service can be contacted on 0845 769 7284.