Age NI have teamed up with Mash Direct to highlight the importance of spending more time with our older family members and ensuring they are eating well.
Age NI have a free guide called Spread the Warmth, which provides lots of useful advice about staying warm and well this winter.
‘‘The shorter days can be depressing if we don’t stay warm and active’’ says the face of Age NI’s winter campaign, Marian Cinnamond, 66, Groomsport which helps advise those living on their own how to stay well this winter.
She said: ‘‘I think it is important to look after oneself in winter because the shorter days can be depressing if we don’t stay warm and active.
‘‘I decided to support the ‘Spread the Warmth’ campaign because keeping well helps us to enjoy later life.
‘‘My two top tips are keeping my feet warm which in turn helps keep the rest of me warm.
‘‘Also, even when ice and snow make it difficult to get out, I would emphasise how important it us for those of us who live alone to make the effort to stay connected to others.
‘‘Remember that friend you could ring or the neighbour you could invite in for a cup of tea who may also be feeling alone.’’
Meanwhile, a representative from Mash Direct which has teamed up with Age NI this year in their campaign to end loneliness, explained: ‘‘For many, winter can be a lonely time of the year and it is important to ensure ‘no one should have no one to turn to’ this Christmas.
‘‘With the festive season just around the corner, this is usually a time to celebrate with family and friends.
‘‘However, for some people in our community, this may not be the case as the holiday period can often be a time when many feel alone. Unfortunately, one in three older people in Northern Ireland say they sometimes or always feel lonely (*Millward Brown for Age NI, 2014).
‘‘Mash Direct is proud to support Age NI to raise awareness of the issues facing older people and to help make a difference to those who need it most.’’
Jack Hamilton, Chief Operating Officer, Mash Direct said: ‘‘It is great to be involved with such a worthwhile cause and raise awareness of this important issue.
‘‘Family is at the heart of the Mash Direct team and we want to ensure no one has no one to turn to.
‘‘Look out for Age NI stickers on packs of Mash Direct products, and share a nutritional meal with an older person in your life this Christmas. Good nutrition benefits older people, and our dishes are tasty, healthy and convenient, without the preparation or hard work.’’
Fantastic festive recipes to enjoy round the table
Why not invite an older family member or neighbour over for a meal this Christmas, and spend time connecting with nutritious, wholesome food at the heart of the table?
Check out this fantastic festive recipe from Mash Direct:
Christmas Leftover Turkey and Potato Curry
What you need
Mash Direct Roast Potatoes
300g Leftover turkey
1 tbsp Sunflower oil
1 Large onion
1 Green pepper
2 tbsp Curry paste
2 Garlic cloves
400g Chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp Mango chutney
A small bunch of coriander
Rice or naan bread (to serve)
Preheat the oven to 190°C.
If your Mash Direct Roast Potatoes are not already cooked, follow cooking instruction on the back of packaging.
Thickly slice onion and deseed & chop pepper.
Heat the oil in a large pan over a fairly high heat. Cook the onion and pepper for 3-4 mins until starting to soften and brown slightly.
Stir in the curry paste and garlic, then cook for another 1-2 mins.
Add the chopped tomatoes and 150ml water.
Bring to the boil and bubble for 5 mins.
Turn the heat down, stir in the turkey and potatoes, and cook for another 2-3 mins.
Season and add the mango chutney.
Scatter with coriander and serve with rice or naan bread.
Q&A – I know an older person who hasn’t been coping very well this winter. What should I do?
Winter can be a challenging time of year particularly for many vulnerable older people who don’t have family living nearby or find it difficult getting out and about, especially in freezing conditions.
With this in mind, Age NI have suggested a few simple steps to help our readers be a good neighbour, relative or friend to ensure that an older person we know is kept warm, safe and well this winter.
* Visit or phone someone you know even just to say hello;
* Make sure their home is heated comfortably and at the recommended temperature (18–21°C or 64–70°F), especially rooms that are used most often e.g. living room and bedroom. This can also help keep their bills as low as possible;
* If passing by an older person’s house, be on the look-out for signs that something might be wrong e.g. milk still at the door, house in darkness when there should be someone at home, newspapers or post stuck in the letterbox.
* Icy roads and snow often prevent older people getting outside through fear of falling or slipping. Offer to pick up shopping, repeat prescriptions, grit their paths and driveways to lessen the risk of slipping or walk the dog;
* Ensure an older person you know has enough healthy and nutritious food in the house and that they are taking regular hot drinks and at least one hot meal a day;
* Encourage them to wrap up warm with several light layers of warm clothes, rather than one chunky layer, if they do have to go outside;
* Check the older person you know is claiming their rightful entitlements to help with the cost of heating during the cold weather.
Ask them to call the Age NI Advice Service for a benefits check on freephone: 0808 808 7575.
You can download the free Age NI Spread the Warmth guide at www.ageni.org/spreadthewarmth.
Stay tuned for next week in our final special edition of features in our campaign to help end loneliness once and for all.
We will be exploring Age NI's Advice Service, and discussing the support it provides to older people and their families across Age NI throughout the year.