Published Tuesday 16 December 2014 at 10:04
Blackburn with Darwen health bosses are reminding people to keep warm and keep well over the next few weeks as the borough gears up for the arrival of winter.
At this time of year, the likelihood of slipping and tripping on icy ground increases and fractured and broken bones can lead to further complications, such as blood clots and pressure sores.
A third of excess winter deaths are attributable to respiratory disease and over half to cardiovascular disease such as heart attacks and strokes.
It is especially important to look out for older neighbours or relative during the winter to make sure they are safe and well.
Following these five top tips will help you keep your home warm, keep on top of your bills and keep healthy.
Heat your home well
By setting your heating to the right temperature (between 18-21ºC) you can still keep your home warm and lower your bills. If you feel cold at night, use a hot water bottle or electric blanket – but never use both together. It is especially important if you’re at home all day.
Get financial support
There are grants, benefits and sources of advice available to make your home more energy efficient, improve your heating or help with bills.
Eat well and have plenty of fluids
Food and water are vital sources of energy, and they help keep your body warm. Try to make sure you and your family have hot meals and drinks regularly throughout the day.
Get a flu jab
You can get a free flu jab to protect against seasonal flu from your GP if you are over 65, pregnant, or have a long-term condition.
Look after yourself and others
On cold days try to avoid going outside if at all possible. Ask friends and neighbours for help with essentials such as shopping or medicines. If you do need to go out, remember to wrap up warm and take care on slippery surfaces. If you have an older neighbour or relative, look out for them during the winter to make sure they are safe and well.
During the winter months in Blackburn with Darwen, DASH provides additional advice to residents on how to keep homes warm whilst keeping energy bills down as well as offering a free handyman service for over 60s.
Winter squads also play a vital role in keeping people safe and well. This independent group of volunteers are supported by the Council under its Your Call campaign. They use grit, snow shovels, spades, crampons, warm ‘high vis’ hooded jackets and buckets provided by the Council to help people.
Another major scheme is the borough’s Good Neighbour initiative. Building on the success of the Your Call Good Neighbour Awards, now in its third year, the scheme acknowledges people who have gone to great lengths to help out neighbours.
Councillor Mohammed Khan, Executive Member for Health and Adult Social Care, said:
“Encouraging people to keep warm and healthy during the winter is really important. The Council also always looks to prioritise the need to look after elderly or vulnerable residents as winter sets in and our services are very much appreciated by residents. We also have a number of other innovative approaches to keeping residents informed such as our BwD winter Facebook page and Good Neighbour initiative. I would also urge people in the community to keep their eyes open and check that elderly or vulnerable neighbours are keeping safe and well and help out with any tasks like shopping.”
If you want further information about winter squads in your area, contact:
Tim Birch -neighbourhood manager (Darwen and Rural) on 222129
Emma Coster – neighbourhood manager for West Blackburn on 01254 581175/266370
Jeff Scales – neighbourhood manager for East Blackburn on 01254) 507724
For more information on DASH call (01254) 588822 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have any specific concerns about an elderly or vulnerable neighbour call (01254) 585921. For general information on keeping safe and well through the winter or for information about the Council’s good neighbours schemes call (01254) 292620.