Adur, West & East Worthing Party including East Arun

Looking out for the elderly this winter

West Sussex County Council is urging communities to check on their more vulnerable residents this winter, especially with Christmas approaching.

The County Council has come up with some suggestions for what people can do to help keep themselves and their families warm, healthy and safe, available on the website at www.westsussex.gov.uk/getreadyforwinter.

Cabinet Member for Adults’ Services Peter Catchpole said: “The County Council recently launched its Age With Confidence initiative – we want to make sure that people are confident in preparing for and living well in old age.

“As the cold weather and darker nights come upon us, we all need to be alert and look out for others in our communities, for example, checking that elderly or disabled neighbours are safe and well in the cold weather.”

Many West Sussex organisations have launched Christmas campaigns to help the elderly.

These include:

Companionship at Christmas. Abbeyfield, the national charity with more than 700 supported sheltered houses across the UK, is inviting older people who might otherwise be alone over the festive season (December 24 to January 4) to spend time at an Abbeyfield home for a delicious free lunch, or even an overnight stay.

Two Abbeyfield houses in West Sussex are taking part in the scheme: Inglenook, Pound Road, West Wittering; and Abbeyfield House, 21 Hurst Road, Horsham. To find out more, contact the Companionship At Christmas hotline on 0845 052 3553.

Actor Geoffrey Palmer, who is spokesman for the campaign, said: “It is so sad that more than 750,000 older people are chronically lonely and while this is a daily issue, being alone or lonely is particularly sad around Christmas time. If the offer of free dinners and overnight stays over the Christmas holidays at an Abbeyfield house brings a bit of cheer to just one older person faced with spending the festive season alone, it will be worthwhile.”

Age UK West Sussex has launched a ‘Spread the Warmth’ campaign to help publicise simple tips to help people stay warm and well in the cold weather. To find out more visit the website at www.spreadthewarmth.org.uk or contact the information and advice freephone helpline on 0800 019 1310.

Age UK West Sussex will also be offering entertainment and lunches throughout December (up to December 23) at its five activity centres in Bognor Regis, Burgess Hill, Crawley, Haywards Heath and Littlehampton. The centres will reopen over Christmas week from Wednesday December 28 to Friday December 30.

Age UK West Sussex is also working with the national Age UK and the Met Office to alert older people when a cold spell of weather is due – part of the national Cold Weather Plan.

To find out more on the campaigns mentioned visit the websites at www.ageukwestsussex.org.uk or www.cope-at-xmas.com