Special advisors to offer face-to-face advice on how to cope during the cold weather

The CAB door-knocking team

The CAB door-knocking team - Credit: Archant

ADVISORS from an Uttlesford charity will be out and about in the community to help people cope during the cold snap.

Uttlesford Citizens Advice Bureau is re-running its door-knocking campaign until February 15.

The aim of the campaign is to bring “friendly and useful advice” to residents, and offer support and information with a special emphasis on how to cope during cold weather.

Information will be offered on how to save money on heating and improve energy efficiency in the home.

Manager Kate Robson said: “Age UK states that ‘every winter, more than 200 older people die every day from preventable causes’.

“Last year there were 15 times more excess deaths in winter than from road traffic accidents all year, the vast majority of which were older people. The root causes of these deaths – mainly heart attacks, strokes and breathing problems – can often relate to cold, badly insulated homes as well as lack of awareness of the need to keep warm. Older people can also find it harder to judge just how cold it is.”

She adds: “For all people, especially the elderly, having access to the right information and being well prepared is key to coping during cold weather.

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“If someone was finding it difficult to pay their fuel bills, we could find out if they were missing out on benefit entitlements, or if they qualified for extra help, some suppliers run trust funds for vulnerable customers.

“Advisors will also be able to discuss problems with benefit, debt, housing, employment or legal and family issues if asked. All advice offered is free and confidential.”

Police, Neighbourhood Watch and parish councils have been informed that CAB advisors will be visiting different areas of the district, although residents are urged to take sensible precautions when someone approaches you – all CAB advisors carry identification.

Call the general police number 101 or the office number 0844 477 5986 if you have any concerns. Citizens Advice is a free service and advisors will not be selling anything to you.

Remember to:

• Check on older people living near them – why not offer to help clear their paths?

• Shut bedroom windows at night

• Keep internal doors shut to trap the heat

• Wrap up well when you go outside – lots of layers are best

• Try to keep your living room temperature at 21°C (70°F)

• Try to keep your bedroom temperature at 18°C (65°F)

• Eat one hot meal daily and drink hot beverages throughout the day

• Please contact the CAB if you think you will be unable to pay your bills

How cold affects the health of older people:

• Exposure to cold through the hands, feet, face or head can rapidly lead to a drop in core body temperature.

• Cold air can narrow airways, making it harder to breathe.

• Cold air increases the risk of respiratory infection.

• Cold lowers heart rate but raises blood pressure much more.

• In older people raised blood pressure may last many hours.

• Cold increases the risk of blood-clotting.

• Blood-clotting and raised blood pressure both increase the risk of heart attack or stroke.

• The longer someone is exposed to cold, the more at risk they are of all these effects.