‘Look after older people this winter’

Now that East Antrim has seen its first fall of snow, Age NI and Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service are teaming up to urge people to play their part by helping older family, friends and neighbours this winter.

Age NI chief executive Linda Robinson, said: “One in three older people in Northern Ireland feel lonely, and poor weather conditions can seriously add to the isolation that many older people feel at this time of year. Ice and snow can also stop people getting out of the house and increase their fear of trips and falls. We are appealing to the NI public to play their part and help an older person they know during the winter months.

“Just lift the phone, or visit someone you’ve perhaps not seen for a while, to make sure they are warm and well. Or if you know someone who is worried about health, care or money, encourage them to call the Age NI Advice Service on freephone 0808 808 7575. Age NI deals with 10,000 calls every year from older people, their carers and families, and we offer a free benefits check - just a little bit of help can go a long way. Please make sure the older people in your life are getting the help that they need.”

Stanley Bentley, assistant group commander, Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service, added: “We are urging the public to be Fire Safe and Winter Ready this year. We all have a part to play in helping to protect the most vulnerable people within our community, and NIFRS is supporting Age NI’s call for kindness and care this winter. If you are concerned about an older person you know, call the Age NI Advice Service - one phone call really could change someone’s life.

“When you check in on an older family member, a friend or a neighbour, make sure that their smoke alarm is working and that they have an escape plan. Encourage them to have a free Home Fire Safety Check by phoning 028 9260 0477 to arrange.”

You can find more winter preparedness and fire safety advice on www.nifrs.org