Help is at hand for the elderly during the wintry weather
THE wintry weather is a busy time for teams overseeing services for the elderly and vulnerable across Staffordshire.
At the Women's Royal Voluntary Service, staff and volunteers help older people stay connected and independent.
They also provide invaluable support for residents using the meals on wheels service, who need extra help after hospital visits, or just need a friendly ear and a chance to chat to someone.
During the cold weather, they have been handing out packs of gloves and fleeces. And without fail, they have been delivering all meals.
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The Beat The Cold charity has also been pulling out the stops to help people cope.
Chief officer, Martin Chadwick, said: "Some people won't turn the heating on because they are frightened that they will get a huge bill.
"Our advisers go out to see people in their own homes, where they can look at fuel bills, read the meters and make sure householders know the best way to use their heating systems.
"For anyone who is unwell already, a cold home can make things a lot worse, whether people have breathing problems, raised blood pressure, accidental falls, or mental health problems."
For advice and help, or for a free card thermometer, people can call the charity on 0800 389 2258.
Other support could include cold weather payments, which cover each week that there is very cold weather.
A one-off payment of £25 will be made when the average temperature is 0° Celsius for seven consecutive days.
To qualify, people must already be receiving one of the following benefits pension credit, income support with a child under five years old in their family, income support with a pensioner premium or disability premium, child tax credit with an element for a child or young person who is disabled.
If eligible, candidates will automatically be paid.
Having effective heating systems and a ready supply of food and drink is also vital.
Glynn Luznyj, head of risk reduction at Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: "The older members of our community are the most vulnerable in this weather. It's important that older people are keeping warm and are doing so safely.
"We've sadly seen too many fatal fires involving elderly people over the last few years, where some form of heating method or appliance was to blame.
"If you are clearing your own drive and pathways from snow and ice, and you have an elderly neighbour, why not offer to do theirs as well?
"Or if you need to pop to the shop, why not see if an elderly neighbour needs anything on your way?
"It's the little things that count when supporting neighbours or friends."