Rhondda Cynon Taf Coumcil is offering advice and support during inclement weather this Winter
During inclement weather, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council is urging people to check on their neighbours, friends and elderly family members.
Providing information, advice and support to people over the age of 65 to help them keep safe and maintain good health during the winter months is the cornerstone for the annual Keep Well This Winter campaign.
Supported by Rhondda Cynon Taf Council, the campaign runs each year, right through until February, and is organised by the Welsh Government, bringing together a range of initiatives from local authority and voluntary sectors into one partnership programme.
There are three clear themes to the initiative which assist older people to access benefits and grants to help with heating bills, offer advice on how to stay healthy and warm in the winter months and also how to keep safe by installing fire safety or security equipment in the home.
Keeping as fit and healthy as possible is important all year round, but a healthier lifestyle can make even more of a difference when it comes to keeping well in winter.
The “Keep Well” theme offers advice to people on how to avoid catching colds and to look out for possible signs of hypothermia, contacting your local GP for information on flu jabs, eating well and living a healthy lifestyle.
Everyone is more likely to catch colds and flu in winter, but the cold weather can also trigger some more serious health problems such as heart attacks, strokes and pneumonia.
Also remember to eat plenty of hot food and make hot drinks and try to plan a varied diet which aims to include five portions of fruit and vegetables daily.
Exercise is good for overall health and it can keep you warm in winter. Even a small amount of exercise can bring health benefits. If possible, older people are encouraged to try to move around at least once an hour.
Individuals should also recognise the signs of possible Hypothermia and older people should have a flu jab. For further information about the Flu Jab campaign or advice for older friends or relatives, contact NHS Direct 0845 46 47 or visit www.kwtw.org.uk
Financial support is available with heating the homes of those over 60, disabled or on a low income. This can include cold weather payments and winter fuel payments and for those receiving certain benefits, a cold weather payment may also be available.
Benefits, grants and offering sources of advice to improve the heating in people’s homes and assist them with paying the bills is another service offered by the Council.
The second theme of the campaign is to “Keep Warm” and offers a host of advice on room temperatures of the living room and bedrooms during the day and night, by correctly setting the heating at the right level and for the correct amount of time. Heat a main living room to around 18-21°C (64-70°F) and the rest of the house to at least 16°C (61°F) to all the rooms used in the day.
To keep warm at the night keep the temperature above 18°C (65°F) in a bedroom overnight and never use hot water bottles in the same bed as an electric blanket, even if the blanket is switched off.
Always unplug blankets before going to bed, unless they have a thermostat control for safe all-night use and it is always advisable to get an electric blanket tested every three years through Age UK. For details call them freephone on 0800 169 6565.
Thirdly, the campaign focuses on “Keep Safe” which encourages older people to prepare their home for winter and staying safe including fire safety and home security.
Fire Safety is especially important during the Winter. Your local Fire and Rescue service will carry out a free home fire safety check for you and fit smoke alarms if you do not already have them. Call them on 0800 169 1234 for a free fire check.
Incorrectly installed, poorly maintained or poorly ventilated heating and cooking equipment which runs on fossil fuels (gas, oil, coal or wood) can give off carbon monoxide - an invisible, odourless toxic gas which kills more than 50 people a year in England and Wales.
Low levels of carbon monoxide can cause serious harm to health if breathed in over a long time.
The public is urged to keep a watchful eye on their older neighbours and ensure that they keep well, keep warm, keep safe and have essential supplies.
Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet Member and Champion for Older People Cllr Mike Forey said “ Winter can be a dangerous time for older people, so if you have elderly relatives, friends or neighbours, keep an eye out for them this winter and help them to Keep Warm, Keep Well and Keep Safe.
“There are grants, benefits and sources of advice to improve heating and help with bills. Older people are encouraged to stay healthy by eating well, living a healthier lifestyle and having the flu jab. We can all prepare our homes for winter and stay safe with fire safety and home security.
“The messages of this campaign are clear and we hope plenty of older people within our communities take our advice and support and ensure they do indeed keep well this winter.”
Older people and vulnerable residents in Rhondda Cynon Taf are more vulnerable during the winter months and the rise in winter illnesses can sometimes prove difficult for many, especially this winter as the treacherous conditions have left some residents snowed in at their homes.
Rhondda Cynon Taf Council's Home Care Service, Meals on Wheels, Mobile Libraries, Age Concern Morgannwg, Carers Project, RCT Homes, Care & Repair all play key roles in keeping older and vulnerable residents safe during the winter months, as well as all year round.
Rhondda Cynon Taf Counci, is here to offer help and advice during the Winter months