What to do when the weather's particularly bad

Fortunately really bad weather doesn’t come around too often in the Northern Ireland. But it’s worth making sure you’re prepared if we are told to expect severe weather, especially winter storms, ice or snow.

As we get older, our bodies respond differently to the cold which can leave us more susceptible to serious health problems that are more common in the colder months such as chest infections, heart attacks and strokes.

But by taking some simple steps, you can stay warm, well and safe in the coming days.

1) Keep an eye on the weather forecast. It's good to know what to expect.  

2) If bad weather is forecast, make sure you have everything you need. Check you've got enough medication and stock up on food to keep in the cupboards or freezer in case it's harder to leave the house. It’s important to eat well and keep your energy up.

3) Take extra care if the ground is slippery. Wear shoes with good grip and consider keeping salt and sand mixture handy to grit paths. You could ask your neighbours for help to clear paths or driveways clear in bad weather - the vast majority of people are more than happy to help.

4) Stay Active. Keeping active generates heat and helps to keep you warm. It’s good for general fitness and wellbeing too. So when you’re indoors, try not to sit still for more than an hour. Get up and walk around, make yourself a warm drink, and spread any chores throughout the day.

5) Keep your spirits up. It’s not unusual to feel a bit down in winter – particularly when the days are short and it gets dark by 4pm. Try to keep to your usual routines and, if you can’t visit friends, make sure you phone them regularly for a chat.

6) Keep emergency numbers nearby. Having the number for your energy supplier on hand can be really helpful if there's a power cut. You can also register with your supplier so they'll call you in the event of a power cut.

Advice from the Met Office

The Met Office website has lots of useful advice on keeping safe when the weather's bad.

You can find the alerts on the Met Office website, their Twitter feed and on TV and radio.

How You Can Help an Older relative or friend

We can all do something to help and ensure that our most vulnerable members of society are supported during difficult times.  A small gesture can make a huge difference.

E.G.

  • Call in or pick up the phone to check that everything is ok
  • Clear a neighbour’s path if it's frosty or snow is lying
  • Offer a supporting arm when the ground is slippery or it’s windy
  • Pick up some groceries when you’re at the shop
  • Make a little food to share
  • Bring the bins out and in.

 For more information and advice, call Age NI’s Advice & Advocacy Service on 0808 808 7575