Winter Survival campaign for elderly

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Slippery road in Liverpool. Photo: Ida Husøy

Slippery road in Liverpool. Photo: Ida Husøy

A new campaign has been launched to help lower the number of elderly people who die during the winter months in Liverpool.

The Winter Survival campaign has been launched by Healthy Homes with the aim of educating the elderly lowering deaths during the cold months.

The launch was a drop-in event held at BBC Radio Merseyside with information available from a number of agencies including Public Health, Age Concern, the fire service, Healthwatch Liverpool and the Royal British Legion.

Steve Croft, information and advice coordinator for Age Concern Liverpool and Sefton, identified the main problem for elderly people during winter as fuel costs.

He said: “The problem is with the utility companies, the big six, in my opinion they’re basically running a cartel, there’s no competition so it’s virtually impossible to find someone to do it cheaper because they leap frog each other.

“A lot of older people are on a fixed income, so it’s heat or eat.  Some people will live in one room and have the heating on in one room.

“What we always do for people is say would you like me to give you a benefit check? Because obviously money helps, it can help to pay the bills and make sure that they’re getting what they’re entitled to.”

Croft recommends that during the brief icy spells which Merseyside experiences, elderly residents should stay indoors, use what is already in their cupboards and ask younger neighbours for assistance.

Healthwatch Liverpool Scrutiny, a group which helps ensure local health and social care services meet the needs of the people, also attended the event.

Its development officer, Inez Bootsgezel, said: “For us it’s very important also to find out where the NHS services are actually working really well, because we want to find out about good practice, and to be able to spread good practice to other areas where they may need some improvement.”

Another volunteer for Healthwatch, Mike Marsh, said his key advice this winter, is to “wrap up, keep warm, get your flu jab and look after yourselves.”

Actor Ricky Tomlinson has also taken part in the campaign, producing a number of short videos to help Liverpool get ready for winter.

About Aimée Hamilton, JMU Journalism