A new campaign is calling on communities to look out for elderly neighbours, relatives and friends throughout the winter months.
West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) has launched the ‘Cherished’ campaign which aims to remind people to do their bit to cherish older generations and giving 10 top tips for a safe and healthy winter.
Using the slogan ‘kindness in a cuppa,’ WYFRS is urging people to pop in on older people and flag up potential hazards in the home whilst preventing social isolation and the associated mental and physical decline.
The drive has been prompted by an unusual spike in the number of fire-related deaths of elderly people across West Yorkshire.
Assistant Chief Fire Officer Dave Walton said: “Whilst many proudly live independently, we know that living alone can also put you at greater risk from fire.
“The Fire and Rescue Service recognises that our role in improving health and wellbeing in the community is vital in reducing demand on already stretched health and social care services. Ultimately we want to save lives.”
People are living longer and it’s estimated 23% of the UK will be aged 65 and over by 2035.
As part of the Cherished campaign the Fire Service is highlighting its work to safeguard future generations.
Prevention staff have also designed a schools package for Year Six pupils which will be rolled out across West Yorkshire.
The innovative package uses activities to simulate the physical challenges of aging, such as arthritis, and gives pupils a basic understand of dementia.
This leads on to spotting hazards in the home of grandparents and alerting mum and dad.
ACO Walton added: “Our aim is to foster a real sense of social responsibility in children which will pay dividends not only now but in years to come.
“If kids can recognise the hazards in the homes of their grandparents and use ‘pester power’ to prompt mum and dad into action, to get in touch with the Fire Service, then that’s a great success from our point of view.
“We are concerned that older people may go under the radar because they feel a burden on public services, but this is entirely incorrect. We want people to view our Home Fire Safety Checks in the same way as they do a winter flu jab, have you had yours?”