Loneliness is a huge issue

Police have given advice over bogus callers.
Police have given advice over bogus callers.

Could you help the lonely, elderly or disabled neighbours in your area?

We all know what it’s like to feel lonely but did you know that around one million older people regularly go an entire month without speaking to anyone?

File photo dated 05/12/08 of the hands of an elderly resident at a nursing home. Loneliness is the "hidden killer" among the elderly and as great a threat to health as obesity or smoking, a group of charities said today. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday February 1, 2011. The warning came as five organisations joined forces this morning to launch a Campaign To End Loneliness aimed at tackling isolation among older people. See PA story HEALTH Loneliness. Photo credit should read: John Stillwell/PA Wire

File photo dated 05/12/08 of the hands of an elderly resident at a nursing home. Loneliness is the "hidden killer" among the elderly and as great a threat to health as obesity or smoking, a group of charities said today. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday February 1, 2011. The warning came as five organisations joined forces this morning to launch a Campaign To End Loneliness aimed at tackling isolation among older people. See PA story HEALTH Loneliness. Photo credit should read: John Stillwell/PA Wire

Loneliness is a massive issue for people in later life in the UK. Half of all people aged 75 and over live alone, and one in 10 people aged 65 or over say they are always or often feel lonely – that’s just over a million people

Is your neighbour nameless and faceless or do you actually know each other? It’s a lot harder to care about someone you’ve never met.

Now the dark nights and colder weather are with us, this guide includes some tips for helping people who may be at risk of falls or accidents in their home or who could be targeted by burglars, rogue traders or others who may do harm.

If someone has had an accident or has come to some harm in their home, they may not be able to attract anyone’s attention. Always be on the look-out for signs that something might be wrong:

l Milk not taken in late in the day

l Newspapers stuck in the letterbox for a few days

l Curtains have been drawn for a few days when they are normally open

l Lights left on during the day when they are normally off

l Home in darkness when there should be someone at home

l Bins have been left out when they are normally put away

l Dog barking all day or the cat scratching to be let in

If you are concerned about a neighbour please knock on their door to see if they are ok. In an emergency phone 999.

Bad weather may mean that some neighbours can’t get out and about. They may need help but are too proud or embarrassed to ask.

If you are going shopping, call in and see if they require anything.

In the snow or ice, whilst clearing your own path/driveway, do theirs too.

On bin day, make sure the bins are ready for collection and put back when they have been emptied.

Offer to take their dog for a walk. Animals need company and exercise too.

If you hear of any neighbourhood news why not call in and give them the heads-up?

If you think your neighbour is struggling with everyday tasks, consider inviting them round and talking to them about whether they need help or if you are concerned about the security at their home, speak to them about crime prevention or ask whether they would like you to contact the local police officer (call 101 or email calderdale.npt@westyorkshire.pnn.police.uk) who will come along and carry out a crime prevention survey.

Does your neighbour have smoke alarms fitted? If not, would they be able to fit their own? If in doubt contact West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (01274 682311 or information@westyorksfire.gov.uk) who will call and carry out a home fire safety check.

During the visit, the firefighters will inform and give practical, common sense advice to eliminate or reduce the risk of fire happening in your home. They will also discuss a practical fire escape plan to make sure that if the worst does happen, they can escape safely.

An additional benefit, and one which the Fire and Rescue Authority is justly proud, is the installation of smoke detectors, free of charge, within homes which have been assessed as being most at risk from fires. 

This, together with instruction on their use and maintenance, will make sure that occupants are warned of a fire in plenty of time so they can make their escape.

In addition to the ten year smoke detectors, the fire service also fit special alarms for the deaf and hard of hearing. Where, during the home fire safety check, firefighters come across an occupant who cannot hear the smoke alarm they are referred to the community safety department, who then go assess and install a vibrating pad and flashing light in the bedroom of the occupant’s home.

I would like to finish this article by thanking all the Valley residents for your support this year and by wishing every one of you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New year.