Check in on vulnerable people this Christmas

People in the Black Country and West Birmingham are being advised to wrap up warm over the winter season and to look out for vulnerable people during the Christmas and New Year period.

Local people are being asked to remember older relatives, friends and neighbours as well as other vulnerable people at this time of year.

The over 65s and those with long-term health conditions or disabilities are at increased risk of illness during the winter months.

It is important to regularly check in on older relatives, neighbours and friends and to make sure they have the provisions they need.

As Christmas approaches, Director of Public Health in Sandwell, Lisa McNally, says that by following a few simple steps, residents can ensure they stay safe and warm.

She said: “As wintry weather kicks in, older people and those who suffer from long-term illnesses are especially vulnerable.”

Five simple steps to staying safe and well throughout winter are:

  • Ensure that at least one room in your home is well heated
  • Make sure you have a supply of warm drinks such as soup and tea
  • Wear warm clothing – lots of layers will keep you warm
  • Ensure you have any prescription medicines you need at home to cover the festive period; and
  • If you really have to go outside in very cold weather, please wear sturdy shoes as roads and pavements are likely to be particularly slippy at this time of year

Colder temperatures can lead to a higher risk of heart and chest diseases. Lisa McNally added: “So, keeping an eye out for older neighbours, friends and relatives will really help ensure they stay well over the winter months.”

She added: “Children are also at risk so it’s important that parents make sure their kids are well protected against the elements throughout winter.”

People over 65 and those with long-term health conditions can get a free flu jab as they are at particular risk from flu. If you are eligible and haven’t had your flu vaccine yet this winter, contact your GP or pharmacist. Visit https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/flu-influenza-vaccine/ for more information.

Take care of your mental health too over the Christmas and New Year period. Discover simple steps to look after your mental health by searching online for ‘Every Mind Matters’. Every Mind Matters will get you started with a free online plan designed to help you deal with stress and anxiety, boost your mood, improve your sleep and feel more in control.