Advice for elderly as winter sets in

Snow on high ground as the weather turns wintery:  Picture: Cliff Donaldson
Snow on high ground as the weather turns wintery: Picture: Cliff Donaldson

Age NI said its free benefits check telephone number can assist those struggling to eat, and to heat their homes properly, adding that for many older people “winter means loneliness, poverty and ill-health”.

Age NI said its free benefits check telephone number can assist those struggling to eat, and to heat their homes properly, adding that for many older people “winter means loneliness, poverty and ill-health”.

The charity also offers a befriending service to those who are particularly lonely and organises Christmas parties at local day centres.

“Seventy per cent of older people worry most about staying warm in winter. Almost a third of older people in Northern Ireland tell us that television is their main form of company and 44 per cent of older people feel more isolated from their local communities than ever before,” Age NI said.

As well as urging those with elderly relatives or neighbours to check they’re warm and well over the winter, the charity said: “Encourage older people struggling through winter to call the Age NI advice service for a benefits check on freephone 0808 808 7575.”

The advice comes as forecasters warn about strong winds and wintery showers this week.

A spokesman for Meteogroup, the weather forecasting arm of the Press Association, said Monday would be cold with scattered wintery showers, with the chance of some snow lying on higher ground.

“The maximum temperature will be 4C-7C so it will certainly feel cold in a fresh to strong north westerly wind. Tuesday will be a cloudy day and an increasingly windy day with outbreaks of rain, so of which could turn persistent and quite heavy in the afternoon.

“There will also be strong to gale force south-westerly winds. The rest of the week it will be very windy and very unsettled with frequent blustery or squally showers,” he said.

Commenting on the prospect of a white Christmas, he said: “We can’t really do that this early on. There is no way at this stage we would be issuing any forecast,”

Some bookmakers have slashed the odds on December 25 snowfall after a rush of bets followed the onset of the current cold snap.

The Met Office has issued warnings for snow, ice and wind for many parts of the UK and said this week will bring the “first notable north-westerly blast of the year”.