Even though the weather crisis we faced last week in now over, ALONE (the charity that supports older people to age at home) would like to make everyone aware of a list of tips for older people on how to prepare and cope the next time we face such conditions!
Staying well and warm:
· Eat hot meals regularly and drink plenty of fluids. This will keep you warm.
· Have enough fuel supplies to keep your house warm. Spending your money on heating is a priority for you: keep your heating on all day.
· Keep as active as possible. If you can, do some light exercise indoors.
· Make sure you have enough of any medication you need for a week. If you need medication, call your pharmacist.
· Check you have enough food, water and fuel.
· Ask family, friends and neighbours for help if you need it.
· Make sure you have enough credit on your mobile phone.
· Drink alcohol in moderation: alcoholic drinks can make you lose body heat.
· Make sure your heating system is working (that is, central heating, gas, electricity).
· To save on heating bills, close off rooms you are not using.
· Make sure your house isn’t losing heat through windows. Keep your blinds and curtains closed.
· Avoid all unnecessary travel.
· Write down important contact numbers and keep them beside your phone. Don’t forget emergency numbers: 999 or 112.
· Emergency SMS number: 112. If you are hard of hearing, deaf or have speech difficulties, in an emergency send a text to 112. They will contact the Gardaí for you.
· Wear well-fitted shoes with non-slip soles if you have to leave the house. Take these off as soon as you get inside so that you don’t trip.
· Dress warmly even if you are staying in the house. Throw a blanket over your legs. Wear socks and slippers.
· When you go to bed, use extra blankets.
· Avoid being out in the wind; a wind can quickly lower your body temperature.
· Wear loose layers of clothing. The air between the layers can help to keep you warm.
· Wear a hat and scarf.
· Change your clothes if they get damp or wet.
Advice for friends or relatives of older people in cold weather
· Call up your older friend daily to ensure they are feeling okay. If possible, check in on them before bad weather hits.
· Ask whether they need assistance with getting food, fuel, or water supplies.
· For information on public transport, check http://www.irishrail.ie (01 8366222) and http://www.buseireann.ie (1850 836 611).
· For information on power outages, check http://www.esbpowercheck.ie. Phone 1850 372 999 to report outages.
· For information about road conditions, check the three websites of Transport Infrastructure Ireland at http://www.tii.ie, http://www.tiitraffic.ie and http://www.winterready.ie.
· For further tips and details about how you can prepare for the cold weather, check www.winterready.ie
Keep up to date with http://www.alone.ie. Call ALONE at 042 933 0103 or 01 6791032 if you’re ever in need of assistance.