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January 08, 2010

Public Urged to Make Visiting Older People a Priority

Kildare Volunteer Centre is urging people who have an unscheduled day off work today to take the opportunity to check in on older people in their community who may be experiencing serious difficulties as a result of the prolonged cold weather.

We are now in the third week of the big freeze which has left many older people house bound and unable to get essential food, fuel and medical supplies.  Unless they are receiving regular visits from people who can help them, they will now be in serious difficulty.  In addition to food supplies, people who use solid fuel heating may be running short of fuel, and people on regular medication may need prescriptions to be filled.

You don’t have to be affiliated with a voluntary organisation to help older people during winter. Just ring your neighbours doorbell to check that they are mobile - perhaps offer to fetch their groceries.

If you are an older person who is running into difficulties, we urge you to contact your local HSE health centre immediately. If you do not know the number for your local centre contact the HSE’s information line at 1850 24 1850 and they will provide it.

We are also  urging older people to keep in regular telephone contact with family, friends and other older people to let everyone know they are well. They are also reminding them to keep their own homes warm. They should be aiming to keep the temperature in the rooms they are living in at 18 to 20 degrees Celsius. If they cannot afford to heat the whole home to this level, they should concentrate on heating the rooms they are living in.