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Age Scotland is urging everyone to take extra care and look out for their older friends, relatives and neighbours during the cold snap.
Icy weather conditions can be especially dangerous for older people who are at increased risk of falls and poor health.
With new lockdown measures in force, there is also the risk that more older people will feel isolated at home and cut off from their family and friends.
The charity is urging people to find safe ways to stay in touch and look out for vulnerable members of their community. It is also sharing top tips for staying warm and well during the winter months.
Michelle Supple, Age Scotland’s director of charity services, said: ‘This winter is an especially harsh one for hundreds of thousands of older people in Scotland. While we understand why new restrictions are necessary, they are a bitter blow for those who are already struggling with loneliness and isolation.
‘The icy weather conditions gripping much of Scotland are only making this worse. Going out for a stroll can be dangerous for those at risk of falls, while meeting family and friends outside in sub-zero temperatures is far from ideal. As we get older, it can take us longer to warm up, while cold temperatures can exacerbate respiratory problems, heart disease and other health conditions.
‘However, there is plenty that we all can do to help ourselves and those around us. It’s more important than ever to check on your older relatives and neighbours. A friendly phone call or an offer to help with shopping could be a lifeline for someone who feels isolated at home. If you haven’t seen a neighbour for a few days, why not pop a note through their door to check they’re OK?
‘We can also all take time to care for our own mental and physical health over the winter. After a long, difficult year the prospect of more cold, dark months can easily get us down. But simple steps such as staying active safely at home, eating well, and keeping in touch with loved ones can make a real difference.’