WITH cold and wintery weather looking likely to continue for some time to come, warm-hearted residents in Worcestershire are being encouraged to keep an eye out for elderly friends and neighbours.

The NHS South Worcestershire Clinical Commissioning Group is asking people to sign up to its Winter Friends pledge, which is aiming to get 100,000 people across the country to promise to: “take time out this winter to look in on an elderly friend or neighbour to make sure they are warm and coping well”.

Those signing up to the pledge will receive free cold weather alerts and tips on how they can help older friends, relations and neighbours in the winter months.

The organisation’s director of quality and patient safety Mari Gay said: “As the weather gets colder, older people, especially those who are more vulnerable can become isolated, which can have a serious impact on their health.

“Looking in on an elderly neighbour can make a huge difference, helping to prevent loneliness and making sure they are safe and warm.

“We would encourage everyone to sign the Winter Friends pledge and help their local community as well as elderly relatives and friends to give them the support they need”.

The scheme is advising people to visit elderly friends or neighbours at least once a week, making sure their homes are warm enough – about 21 degrees in the living area and 18 degrees in the bedrooms – and making sure they are receiving all fuel benefits they are entitled to.

Those taking part are also being asked to make sure older people are eating well and they have all their regular medications, including an up-to-date flu jab as well as suitable winter clothing.

For more information or to sign the pledge visit nhs.uk/winterfriends