With sub-zero temperatures and heavy snowfall set to grip Ireland over the next few days, Danette Connolly, Director of Care with Home Instead Waterford, says that there are some useful tips and practices that can be put in place to ensure our senior relatives, friends and neighbours stay warm, safe and cared for in the coming weeks.
“We have a duty of care to our ageing parents, grandparents and neighbours and by looking after their interests this winter, we can help alleviate the hardship that comes with a particularly severe weather spell.”
“Please check in on seniors over the coming days and ensure they are prepared. Make sure the house is well stocked with the essentials, such as batteries for the smoke alarm, medicines, particularly repeat prescriptions and plenty of tinned fruit and veg and non-perishables such as pasta and rice, so they don’t have to venture out in the cold.”
Ms. Connolly advised that encouraging our senior relatives to wear several thin layers of clothes, instead of one heavy layer and to keep all internal windows and door closed to keep heat in, will keep them warmer longer throughout the day.
“It is crucial that seniors eat regular hot meals, as the body keeps warm by burning the food we eat. Porridge is an excellent source of nutrients, it’s quick and easy to prepare and fuels the body for hours.”
Other tips include:
· De – ice pathways of snow and ice using salt or sand
· Clear pathways of wet leaves, which pose a trip hazard
· Keep all emergency / contact numbers close at hand
· Block draughts and keep curtains closed at night to retain heat
· Ensure electrical devices are unplugged at night
Ms. Connolly continued, “Please make an extra effort to call in on an older relative or neighbour. If they are dependent on solid fuels for heating, bring a bale of briquettes or a bag of coal. Doing a grocery shop is also helpful and practical as they will have all the essentials at hand to get through the next few days.”
Home Care providers during times of adverse weather conditions will always prioritise care to the most vulnerable i.e. those who live alone. If you are able to help out with your loved one, please let your home care provider know.
Visit www.homeinstead.ie or call Home Instead Senior Care on 051 333966. Home Instead Senior Care if you are concerned about the welfare of a senior family relative or neighbor.
Surface temperature predictions over land and sea.
The W and C symbols show the location and value of the highest (W – Warm) and lowest (C – Cold) temperature on the map. pic.twitter.com/vB1eC5YZ2x
— Met Éireann (@MetEireann) February 27, 2018
Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Older People, Waterford’s Mary Butler has said that it is crucial that people and communities keep an eye on their elderly neighbours as the cold snap hits the country this week.
“Irish people are inherently decent and will want look out for their elderly neighbours, but sometimes the busyness of daily life may mean it gets forgotten.
“Older people are very proud and they may not ask for help or assistance, but they will accept it, if offered.
“Over the next few days knock around to your elderly neighbours or families – check that they have enough basic foods such as bread, milk, tea as well as enough fuel for their fires or stoves. Make sure that they have a few bottles of bottled water in case water pipes burst.
“Also check that they have credit for their mobile, that it’s charged at all times or that their landline phone is working properly.
Responding to Minister Daly’s comments on fuel costs for older people, Deputy Butler said:
“Minister Daly’s blasé comments on older people putting on their heating 24/7 were irresponsible. Asking them to pay out for extra fuel without the certainty of it being paid back by the State is irresponsible.
“Thankfully common sense has prevailed, and the Government are now doing what former Minister for Finance, Brian Lenihan did in December 2010 when he awarded an additional payment under the Winter Fuel Allowance Scheme.
“This reduces the administrative burden on older people and the State, and gives confidence to older people that they will get the money to cover the cost of heating their homes during this exceptionally cold snap,” concluded Butler.