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Calling all snow angels! Help an elderly neighbour

Media Release: Age Concern New Zealand
August 16, 2011

Calling all snow angels! Help an elderly neighbour

As snow and icy conditions are currently affecting much of New Zealand, Age Concern New Zealand urges everybody to spare a thought for their elderly relatives and neighbours, many of whom wlll be living alone.

The current polar blast has been described as a 'once in a lifetime weather event' and is predicted to continue for much of this week.

Age Concern New Zealand National President Liz Baxendine says such cold and slippery conditions can be particularly difficult for older New Zealanders to navigate.

"Elderly people can have limited mobility and may not have access to essential supplies. Popping around with a hot meal; some bread and mllk or perhaps clearing a path could make all the difference for an older person."

Mrs Baxendine also suggests offering to run errands, checking the person is warm enough and perhaps inviting them to stay until the weather clears.

"There are lots of simple things anybody can do to care for older people. Perhaps now is the time to set up a neighbourhood phone roster to check on older people in extreme weather conditions or natural disasters. A little planning now could literally save an older person's life," she says.

Older people often worry about rising power costs but Mrs Baxendine says now is not the time to economise. "Anybody concerned about keeping warm can contact their local Age Concern for advice about how to keep warm and well."

Saving on power could have costly health effects, she says.

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