Support our community to stay well this winter

Monday, December 21, 2020

This year has been especially tough on the most vulnerable in our community, so Sefton health professionals are sharing some easy tips we can follow to support older and more frail people in the area this winter.

Around 22,000 people in Sefton are considered to be clinically extremely vulnerable to coronavirus (COVID-19), and there are countless others who may need support in the cold weather because of mobility issues, for example. Around one in three over-65s who live at home will have at least one fall a year, and falls are the cause of most injury-related deaths in over-75s[1].

Dr Craig Gillespie, chair of NHS South Sefton CCG said: “Long periods of cold weather and winter bugs like flu and norovirus can be especially dangerous for the elderly or those with long-term conditions. With the added risk of becoming seriously ill with coronavirus, we should be helping our elderly or frail neighbours and loved ones to stay at home wherever possible.

“During the winter months it’s vital that we all eat a balanced diet and keep warm to stay well particularly the most vulnerable in our community. If it snows, you could clear their path and front step, so they do not slip and fall. Better still – if you’re able to offer help, from a distance, with shopping or other essentials so that they can stay safely at home as much as possible that could be of great help.”

Dr Rob Caudwell, chair of NHS Southport and Formby Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “It’s important not to forget about those who may be finding it hard to get out and about this winter. Show some warmth towards your neighbours and relatives by checking in on them regularly, while protecting them from Covid-19 transmission by maintaining social distance.

“They may be struggling with their mental health or feeling isolated, so they may really appreciate seeing a friendly face from a safe distance and a chance to have a chat. If they are feeling unwell, encourage them to call their GP or NHS 111 for advice and support.”

Margaret Jones, director of public health for Sefton said: “When helping out vulnerable neighbours or friends it’s best to leave food supplies or prescriptions outside for them to collect. If you are checking-in or having a chat, make sure to stay outside and follow social distancing at all times.

“To prevent the spread of the virus and protect our community it’s important that we all continue to wash our hands thoroughly, wear face coverings and make space of at least 2 metres where possible from people not in our household.”

If you think you have developed symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) such as a new, continuous cough or fever, seek clinical advice using the NHS 111 online coronavirus service or call NHS 111. Do this as soon as you get symptoms.

Useful resources:

  • Visit www.nhs.uk/keep-warm-keep-well for more advice on keeping warm and well this winter
  • Visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/falls for more information about how to avoid a fall and what to do if you or someone you know has a fall
  • Living Well Sefton is a FREE service with a focus on supporting people with issues that may be affecting their health and wellbeing. Visit www.livingwellsefton.org.uk or call 0300 323 0181 if you need support.
  • For information about when to self-isolate and what support is available visit: NHS.UK
  • If you need help for a mental health crisis, emergency, or breakdown, seek immediate advice and assessment. Find your local NHS helpline by searching for your postcode or home town in a new service finder.

[1] https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/falls.

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