Practical help to keep people warm this winter

Age UKAge UK

Posted on: 7 February 2012

A new service to help people whose health is affected by cold housing has been launched after £224,000 was awarded to Devon from the Department of Health.

Staying Warm and Well in Devon will provide practical support for vulnerable and older people to deal with the adverse effects of winter. This support includes advice and help with heating and insulation, benefits advice and help with changing energy suppliers. There will also be help available for emergency shopping and repairs during the winter.

People who may need this service will largely be identified through local health and social care teams and local voluntary organisations across Devon. Help will be available for older people who are frail, or have long term health conditions or live on their own. Older people who live in hard to heat homes, such as Park Homes will also be able to get help and advice.

Councillor Stuart Barker, Cabinet Member responsible for project said: “Devon has a high number of older people living in hard to heat homes where we can make a real difference with low cost interventions such a draft proofing and thermal curtain linings.

“This project will enable us not only to improve energy efficiency in homes for older people on low incomes, but also ensure they are receiving all the benefits they are entitled to as well as are paying the lowest tariff for energy as possible.”

The project will be delivered through a network of local Voluntary and Community Organisations which includes the Council for Voluntary Services, Age UK Devon, Devon Welfare Rights Unit, Citizens Advice Bureaux and Devon Care and Repair. It will run to the end of March.

Dr Virginia Pearson, NHS Devon’s director of public health, said: “During the winter months it is even more important to keep the main living rooms at around 18- 21°C (64-70°F), and the rest of the house at least 16°C (61°F). Anyone who finds they can’t heat all the rooms they use, should heat the living room during the day and the bedroom just before they go to sleep.

“Householders should also make sure they have enough medication to cover the cold snap. This may mean asking for repeat prescriptions from their GP.

“Some suggestions for a medicine cabinet include sticking plasters, bandages and cleansing wipes, safety pins, sterile gloves, scissors and tape, a thermometer, painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen (or liquid paracetamol/ibuprofen for children) and anti-diarrhoeal medicines.”

Anyone who thinks they or their family members may need help should contact Staying Warm and Well in Devon on 01392 284284

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Posted in: Health and Wellbeing