The cold of winter can seriously affect the wellbeing of older people. It can also feel to others like a damp and dreary season that brings down their mood and worsens feelings of loneliness and isolation.
That is why it is important to look after ourselves and check in on any vulnerable people we know during the colder winter months.
Ealing Council’s social care team works with thousands of vulnerable residents year-round, providing a range of services that can help with day-to-day life.
The team can help those who need more support to stay independent at home after a hospital stay; to manage their household affairs; to connect people with local community groups; and to receive care in their home.
The council delivers a well-regarded reablement care service – where carers visit people at home who need support to regain skills to do more things for themselves – particularly after a hospital stay, bereavement or other trauma. This could include personal care and helping people to cook for themselves, manage their bills or do light housework and laundry.
Other services available to those who need them include the council’s handyperson service, which carries out simple jobs around the home such as fitting smoke alarms, changing lightbulbs and unblocking sinks.
Healthy Homes Ealing provides a free hotline all-year-round, providing advice to residents wanting help to stay warm and perhaps cut their fuel bills. Some qualify for a ‘green doctor’ home visit too. These provide tailored advice and support; and sometimes provide free energy efficiency measures, or items for staying warm. Where necessary, in-depth fuel debt advice can also be given.
Additionally, the council’s Careline service provides telecare access for vulnerable adults to help with all sorts of emergencies – from the medical to safety issues and particularly in the event of falls – any time of the day or night.
The NHS, local pharmacies, and other organisations also have schemes to help at-risk adults keep warm, reduce the risks of falls, and look after themselves in general. There is even support available for older people to get financial help with fuel bills.
NHS recommends people more at risk of serious complications from flu see their GP to receive a vaccine every year. This includes the people over age 65, those with certain medical conditions and health and care workers.
Councillor Binda Rai, the council’s cabinet member for health and adult services, said “We’re approaching one of the busiest times of year and where possible, we want to make sure people get the right services at the right time to meet their needs. Our social care team is here to help and support our residents get through the challenging winter months.”
Getting help for winter
Telephone numbers for some useful local advice and support services are:
- Age UK https://www.ageuk.org.uk/ealing/our-services/information-and-advice/esas/
- Adult Services Advice and Referral Centre: 020 8825 8000
- Careline: 0300 123 2986
- Carers Centre https://www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice/get-support/local-support/ealing-carers-centre
- Handy Person Schemes: 020 8825 6070
- Healthy Homes Ealing Helpline: 0800 083 2265 (Mon-Fri 9am-5.30pm). https://www.ealing.gov.uk/site/xfp/scripts/xforms_form.php?formID=122&language=en
- Neighbourly Care Services https://www.ealingfamiliesdirectory.org.uk/kb5/ealing/directory/service.page?id=3gsdb39rO3Q
Southall Community Alliance 020 8574 8855
- West London NHS Trust provides 24/7 telephone-based service, which manages all adult mental health referrals as well as providing telephone support to patients and carers. Tel: 0300 1234 244
- If you need non-emergency medical help, go to www.111.nhs.uk or call 111.