Be a good neighbour
Looking out for neighbours who are elderly or frail is something everyone can do which can make an enormous difference to older people who may live alone, or are vulnerable in the colder winter months, says Buckinghamshire County Council.
Supporting one another in our local communities is also an important way to help the NHS, social services, voluntary groups and others to keep our older residents safe and well, it points out.
Dr Dal Sahota, a local GP and Director of Unplanned Acute Care for Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group said:
‘As the cold weather kicks in, many elderly and vulnerable residents can feel trapped and unable to get out to the shops or even to their GP if they have a problem. Offering to collect their medication or fetch some shopping can be a great help and help prevent the risk of a fall.
‘We can all do our bit to help our neighbours stay safe and well this winter.’
Councillor Lin Hazell, Buckinghamshire County Council Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: ‘There is a great deal goodwill in our communities, but I would like to remind people of some simple actions they can take which may help a vulnerable or older person to stay at home rather than risk ending up in hospital.
‘Small things such as making time for a chat, or popping round to see if they are OK can make such a difference. Loneliness and isolation is really miserable and damaging to someone’s mental health, but being a good neighbour is good for everyone – especially at this time of year.’
If you want to help your elderly or frail neighbours but are not sure how, follow this easy, five-point guide to #BeAGoodNeighbour, says the council:
- Say ‘hello’ – surely nobody is too busy for the most basic friendly contact which is vital for our general wellbeing.
- Ask – not everyone will ask for help, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need it, so make the first move and ask if there is anything they need.
- Medicines –check that they have supplies of their regular prescription medicine, especially when the weather is bad, offer to collect them from the pharmacy.
- Shopping – in very cold or icy conditions it’s safer for older folk to stay indoors. Why not offer to pop out to the shops for them when picking up your own groceries – and stay for a cuppa and a chat?
- Know the signs that they may need help – not seen a neighbour for a while? Are their curtains always drawn? Is milk still on the doorstep or mail in the door? They may need help, so don’t wait – pop round and check if they are OK.
Find out more about how to be a good neighbour on Buckinghamshire County Council’s website pages, Ready for Winter: https://www.buckscc.gov.uk/services/community/ready-for-winter/
For urgent medical help or advice call you should call 111 or go online to https://111.nhs.uk/ but if it is a serious or life threatening emergency, call 999.
If you need to speak to someone urgently about a vulnerable adult, contact the Adult Social Care Team on 01296 383 204 or outside office hours: 0800 999 7677.