In addition to Roseland Online‘s ‘Roseland Heart’ campaign, NHS Kernow has joined a national initiative calling for 100,000 people to sign a pledge saying they will look in on an elderly friend or neighbour this winter.
Over 34,000 people over 65 are living alone in Cornwall. Research shows that loneliness and social isolation are as likely to cause early death as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
Each winter thousands of people in England die as a result of cold weather. Most are over 75 and most of these deaths could be avoided. Hundreds of thousands of others spend much of the winter alone.
The campaign, led by the NHS Choices website (www.nhs.uk) seeks to help by appealing to an old-fashioned sense of neighbourliness. Specifically, it is asking for 100,000 people to sign an electronic pledge that states: “I will take time out this winter to look in on an elderly friend or neighbour to make sure they are warm and coping well.”
Those who sign the Winter Friends pledge will receive free cold weather alerts and email tips throughout the winter to help them do their bit. People who wish to sign the pledge and join the NHS Winter Friends campaign should click here. The initiative is part of wider NHS campaign which NHS Kernow is promoting to encourage people to take care of their health during winter.
NHS England recently published analysis showing that the number of unnecessary emergency admissions to hospital rises in winter. It showed that older people are most likely to be affected and that the one of the biggest issues is respiratory conditions.
Dr Colin Philip, a GP in St Ives, who is Chair of NHS Kernow said: “Support from family, neighbours and the community are just as important as self and professional care. If you know someone who is frail or elderly or has an existing health problem keep a close eye on them especially during this wild weather. If they are feeling unwell, encourage them to seek early advice, take them to their local pharmacy or GP before one problem leads to another and they end up in hospital.”