Keep well and warm this winter

WITH the arrival of winter, Age Connect (Cardiff and the Vale) hope you are keeping well and warm.

It is an old fact that we are more likely to catch colds and flu, as well as be subjected to more serious health conditions, in the winter months. Older people with long-term health illnesses can be particularly vulnerable at this time of the year so it’s wise to take some essential precautions to remain healthy during the cold months ahead.

These include keeping your home warm home (the ideal temperature should be between 18-21C/64-70F), dressing warm in layers, eating well, keeping active, drinking plenty of fluids, including hot drinks, and getting a flu jab if you have not had one yet. It is also useful to stock up with tinned, chilled and frozen ready meals for emergencies when you cannot go out and keeping a list of useful telephone numbers, including the following:

• Vale Council (tel 01446-700111): Support can be obtained with issues or crises related to heating (council tenants only). Additionally, Social Services can be contacted if help is needed to organise and/or resolve a problem with a care package at home.

• Care & Repair (tel 01446-704308): If you have heating issues and live in a private property, you would have to phone your suppliers or, alternatively, you could phone Care & Repair to request a list of contractors.

• Nest (tel 0800 512012): A Welsh Assembly Government-funded programme designed to help making your home warmer and more energy efficient by means of provision of grants and support. We’ve successfully helped some of our service users to obtain a free boiler through NEST. However, bear in mind that there is a qualifying criteria which you must meet.

• NHS Direct Wales (tel 08454647): Provides free NHS advice if you have any health problems.

• Fire and rescue service (tel 0800 1691234): Your local fire and rescue service can carry out a free home fire safety check.

Our services that may be helpful in times of crises during the cold months are outlined below:

• Welfare Rights Service (tel 029 2056 7883): Provides information or support with claims of benefits. The team would be able to verify that you are receiving all benefits you are entitled to by means of a simple check over the telephone.

• Hospital Discharge Service (tel 029 2068 3693): Provides short-term support on discharge from hospital with some practical help, including up to three to four visits. To find out more, please call them directly.

• Good Neighbours Schemes in Barry/Rhoose (tel 01446- 747654): Provides assistance mainly with shopping, transport and befriending, depending on availability of volunteers. Please call the above number to find out more about this service and if there is a GNS in your area.

• Advocacy Service (tel 01446-795632): Provides support with information and other issues of concern. Please note that your Vale advocate will be out of the office from December 19 until January 10 but you can call the Cardiff team on 029 2068 3683 during this period.

• For information on the full list services, please call 029 2068 3683.

We look forward to continuing delivering high quality services and help to improve the quality of lives of thousands of older people in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan in the New Year.

Our warm wishes for a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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