Community Project Helps Hundreds to Stay Warm and Well This January
The NHS advise that older people aged 65 and over are more vulnerable to the effects of cold weather, which can make some health issues worse that may lead to serious complications.
To stay well, the NHS recommend keeping your home heated to at least 18C, particularly if you have a health condition or mobility problems. If you are healthy and mobile, it is safe to keep your home cooler than this if wanted. Other guidance includes plenty of hot meals and drinks, using electric blankets or hot water bottles, layering clothing and having all of your prescribed medication at hand.
Gateshead’s largest third sector (not for profit), social care service, Happy to Help, is providing support this January to help people to stay well and warm in the cold weather, offering peace of mind to carers and loved ones, as well as the hundreds of older people and people with disabilities who use the service.
Happy to Help pride itself on making sure that people’s kitchens are well stocked with everything from essentials like bread and milk, to firm favourites, so that vulnerable people have plenty of food each week to make hot meals and drinks. For those with carers or loved ones who make food on their behalf, the service takes away much of the burden when it comes to shopping too.
“The project helps my family. Happy to Help are my main care source and take away some of the strain” Mrs G
The team and clients are also wrapping up warm to go out together to do the weekly shop, supporting their independence.
Each weekly visit by the Happy to Help team is an ideal opportunity to notice any signs that an older person or person with disabilities is forgetting to turn the heating up, or on at all, which may put clients at risk of becoming cold at home, particularly if they are experiencing memory loss or feeling under the weather.
The experienced, fully trained team are helping people to remember to turn the heating up, can do it on their behalf if they wish, or work alongside to loved ones and carers if there are any concerns.
“Happy to Help are a very essential service for people who can’t do things for themselves. They have been very kind to me” Mrs P
Check ins also help with:-
Encouraging people to stay hydrated which is just as important in winter as it is in summer
Noticing if people are dressed warmly
Alerting loved ones, carers or NHS professionals with any health concerns
Ensuring food is in date, and the kitchen is well stocked
Prescription Pick Up
The weekly service can not only be used to do shopping and pay bills, but also to pick up prescriptions to ensure that older and disabled people have the medications they need so that they can stay well.
Alternatively, the Assisted Outings service can help by providing an arm to lean on, support and companionship to go out and about to collect prescriptions.
“Happy to Help has helped me to live independently. With my memory problems, without help, I would probably not be able to live at home” Mr B
It’s tempting to stay indoors where it is warm and cosy, and for people who struggle to go out alone, leaving the home can be more challenging when the weather turns colder, wetter and windier.
The Happy to Help team visit their clients every week to provide traditional home help support, so that those who are at home alone and have few or no visitors, will see a friendly, trusted and familiar face who can provide company and support with domestic tasks.
Having contact with others has proven benefits for overall wellbeing and mental health, and prevents loneliness and isolation in the colder months.
The popular Assisted Outings scheme is helping local people to stay motivated to go outdoors and to remain active, mobile and sociable, which has far reaching benefits, especially for older people and those who live alone.
Staying Healthy with Social Care
The NHS recommends keeping active in winter, which helps to keep us warm and our circulation happy. Clients are using Happy to Help’s flexible Assisted Outings service to go out for walks or to continue with hobbies and regular activities during the winter months.
“I now do the things I enjoy, also the company of having someone to talk to makes my day.” Mr C
The one to one service is on hand from leaving the house, to getting back home again, and can be used to go anywhere that the client wishes, or needs to go (including doctors and hospital appointments), with the added benefit of a reassuring companion with them along the way. Clients who use the assisted outings service tell us that it encourages them to be more active during the week and builds confidence to stay mobile all year round.
Happy to Help is a not-for-profit community interest company supporting over 250 older people in Gateshead to live independently in comfort and safety at home. We provided a traditional, weekly home help service covering domestic tasks, shopping and bill paying as well as 1-2-1 assistance to go out and about with the reassuring support and companionship of one of our trained members of staff. For more information, visit h2h2000.wixsite.com/happy-to-help#! or call 0191 4785919.