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Look out for elderly neighbours as winter begins to bite, GPs urge

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: February 02, 2014

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Doctors in North Staffordshire are encouraging people to look in on an older friend or neighbour this winter.

Every year, hundreds of thousands of older people spend much of the winter alone and lonely. According to Age UK, 1 in 20 people in the UK aged 65 and over say they spent Christmas Day alone in 2010.

But it doesn't have to be this way.

Dr Paul Unyolo, Clinical Director for North Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Group and Newcastle GP said: “It doesn’t take much time out of your day to look in on an elderly neighbour or friend and it would make a real difference in ensuring an old person is well and looked after.

“Wintery weather is hazardous for the elderly and a short visit is appreciated. Your visit could deliver them from distress, illness, or worse so don’t be afraid to drop in and don’t worry about being considered as nosey or interfering."

Last winter, about 31,000 people in England died as a result of cold weather. Most of these people were over 75 and many of these deaths could have been avoided.

NHS Choices have information on their website where people can get advice on how to be a “Winter Friend” and also make a pledge should they wish.

Everyone who signs the pledge will get free cold weather alerts and email tips throughout the winter to help them do their bit.

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