Health bosses across Lancashire and South Cumbria are urging people to look out for their relatives, friends or neighbours who are on their own this winter.
Social isolation during the pandemic has been an increased problem with many people, old and young, struggling with a lack of social contact, but this is not a new phenomenon. Every winter, we see a rise in people seeking health services because they are lonely.
Andy Curran, Medical Director for Lancashire and South Cumbria Health and Care Partnership, said: “Loneliness and social isolation in older adults are serious public health risks affecting a significant number of people and putting them at risk of dementia and other serious medical conditions.
“This time of year, elderly or vulnerable people can become increasingly isolated, as they are worried about leaving the house on darker evenings or slipping on the ice in colder weather. This can lead to mental health issues such as depression, but also other health concerns if they are not keeping themselves warm or looking after themselves by eating properly.
“This is why we are encouraging everyone to be a good neighbour and ask them if they are warm enough, coping in the cold weather and have sufficient basic supplies. The simplest things could make the biggest difference to their health, including offering to get some food shopping, collect a prescription, or drive them to an appointment if they are worried about slipping and falling on the ice.
“Even taking half an hour to have a cup of tea with them can really give their mental health a boost.
“So, if you can, please do make the effort to check in on anyone you know is alone, whilst ensuring you do all you can to protect them from the spread of Covid-19.”
For advice around keeping well this winter please visit the Lancashire and South Cumbria Healthcare Partnership website.