Tuesday 15 January 2013

Snow - Remembering the Housebound in Cold Weather

This week the whole country has been swathed with a dumping of the white stuff, with some very heavy snow in some parts of the country. The kid's have been having a great time stomping about making footprints in the snow and building snowmen, and hubby and I have been enjoying taking some lovely scenic photos.

In our little corner of the world, the snow doesn't seemed to have affected us too much. Hubby has still managed to get into work, and we have still succeeded in getting to school and after school activities, and going about our daily lives. It seems (so far) that if you are driving, as soon as you get off of the local roads, the roads are clear and everyone is wondering what all of the fuss is about.

However, unlike us, some are not so lucky to come through the cold weather without being affected. Tonight, I was reminded by my mother about my eighty three year old Nan. After a fall in the town a few months ago, she now worries about going out in the bad weather. This is the first winter where she has taken the decision not to go out whilst there is ice or snow on the ground, and so she has effectively made herself a prisoner in her own home due to the weather. The Met Office has warned that this weather could last for up to three weeks. That's three weeks for my Nan in the house, worried about stepping outside for a pint of milk in case she takes a tumble, and being isolated and cut off from society. It's also three weeks of dealing with sub zero temperatures and trying to keep the house warm. I know that sometimes my Nan will only heat one room and then stay in that room all day as it's cheaper, and she doesn't see the sense in heating the whole house just for her.

Luckily, I have quite a big family and so I'm sure my Nan will have quite a few people checking up on her over the next few weeks, or taking her out to get some shopping or on an "outing". However, many older people do not have the privilege of having family or friends who live close by, or relatives who drive. Many older people feel extremely isolated at this time of year - especially if they rely on the bus or walking for transport. Even a short trip to the shops can seem like an obstacle course through the snow and the ice. Some people may choose to stay at home and not eat rather than venture out.

Therefore, I would ask you, if you know of someone who is living on their own and perhaps can't get out easily in the cold weather, please do check on them. They could be an elderly, disabled or vulnerable person. Perhaps they are ill or housebound, or maybe they are a parent of a baby or small child who cannot get the buggy through the snow and so cannot go about their normal daily life.

If you know someone who can't leave the house for whatever reason, please check to see whether they need a pint of milk, or a loaf of bread, or perhaps even consider taking them a hot meal round. Even more so, perhaps spend some time talking to them so that they hear a human voice during this cold snap.

If you have more time on your hands and want to make a difference, perhaps rally a few volunteers and approach a local church or charity who could point you in the direction of those who may need a little extra looking after this winter. I'm sure that your visits would be much appreciated by those who are unable to venture out in the cold snowy weather!

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