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Defending yourself from the Beast from the the East

Sam_ScopeSam_Scope Posts: 7,647Administrator Scope community team
As the cold weather and storms hit us with week named the beast from the east, we wanted to share some advice from the NHS about keeping warm and well in bad weather.

They say that some people including disabled people, people with chronic conditions, older people, young children and people with mental health conditions are more vulnerable and at risk during spells of cold weather.

snowy scene of a house in a forest

Be prepared

The Met Office provides weather forecasts on radio and TV, so listen in to these bulletins regularly to keep up to date with the weather.
Severe weather warnings are also issued on the Met Office website, through the Met Office Twitter feed, or you can call the Weather Desk on 0370 900 0100 or 01392 885 680.
The Met office also has advice on getting ready for winter. This includes suggestions for practical things you can do to prepare for winter weather, including cold, ice and snow, high winds and flooding.

Protect your health in the cold

If you start to feel unwell, even if it's a cough or cold, don't wait until it gets more serious. Seek advice from your pharmacist.
Follow these tips on keeping well in the cold:
  • find out if you can get the flu jab for free on the NHS
  • wear several layers of clothes rather than one chunky layer – clothes made from cotton, wool or fleecy fibres help to maintain body heat
  • use a hot water bottle or electric blanket to keep warm in bed – but don't use both at the same time
  • have at least one hot meal a day – eating regularly helps keep you warm; and make sure you have hot drinks regularly
  • try not to sit still for more than an hour or so indoors – get up and stretch your legs
  • stay active – even moderate exercise can help keep you warm
  • wrap a scarf loosely around your mouth when outdoors – add a hat and wear shoes with a good grip, too. If you have a heart or respiratory problem, stay indoors during very cold weather
Look in on vulnerable neighbours and relatives

Check up on older neighbours and relatives, and those with heart or respiratory (breathing) problems, to make sure:
  • they're safe and well
  • are warm enough, especially at night
  • have stocks of food and medicines so they don't need to go out during very cold weather
If you're worried about a relative or elderly neighbour, contact your local council or call the Age UK helpline on 0800 678 1174 (8am-7pm every day).
If you're concerned that the person may be suffering from hypothermia, contact NHS 111.

Do you have any tips on keeping warm and well? How is the weather near you today? Does bad weather affect you more because of your impairment?

Senior online community officer


  • thespicemanthespiceman Posts: 4,800Community champion Disability Gamechanger
    Hello @Sam_Scope This great thank you for this.  Lovely to think of SCOPE team thoughtful.

    My useful tips always good breakfast.  Porridge is bland on it own so have fruit and nuts.  I do Apple from the fruit bowl with Prunes half water and milk in the microwave.  Nuts can be added Walnut, Almonds useful fats.

    Add those frozen fruit packs of berries defrost overnight.  Eggs good to eat yes contain cholesterol but useful to keep warm.  I do poached eggs and grilled tomatoes.  Got no bread use crackers with cheese and nuts mid morning snacks.  Use boiling water kettle if no tea or coffee.  Just a dash of honey and lemon juice from a bottle.  Helps with Vitamin C.

    Do little and often small snacks if not hungry.  Crispbreads, soup, beans on toast whole meal bread.  Add to the beans what you like spices.  I add chillies from a jar or chilli powder.  Contains chilli useful immunity against colds.

    Useful meals are ones that contain pulses and beans.  Like Dhal, Curries.  You can make your own.  I use vegetables such as Aubergines with Lentils plus Onions, Tin Tomatoes usually Passata, Curry Spices, Ginger, Garlic.  Red Lentils or Tins.  Useful and not expensive but filling.

    Roots soups another one.  Just any roots diced sliced with curry spices plus Onions Passata Stock cover.  Bring to boil simmer add in lentils or beans.  You can blitz up blender when cool down .  Just reheat microwave.

    Hope any of this helps simple ideas.  Useful and cheap.

    I try to plan much as I can remember.  Have to live on my own.  Make sure fridge freezer stocked up.  Have to be aware of my own frailty.  Have fallen and have slipped over.  Depression and anxiety problems, so this helps staying in touch.  With the community.

    Only thing I forgot was I left my prescription should have done this last week.  Just not too good last week.  Went yesterday now I have to fight to get out the door probably Thursday to pick it up.

    The safety and welfare of our community.  Use your common sense.  If travelling by car have your mobile phone charged. a shovel.  Good footwear. If on a really long journey is it necessary.  Make sure you have blankets, warm clothing, replacements of socks, footwear.  Flasks of hot water.  Mars Bars, Chocolate, small snacks, fruit, nuts etc in the glove box.  Also a large card with you name and address on it.  Contact numbers of next of kin.  Just in case you car is stranded and you are found.

    Sorry if that sounds distressing but I have travelled all over the UK.  This is what I carried when I was buying and selling from Markets.  Asked AA and RAC want to put in my car.

    Especially weather like this. 

    Take care every body

  • janejrjanejr Posts: 125Member Pioneering
    Hi everyone I'm living by the peak District and we are having blizzards it's freezing cold here the beast has landed. Stay warm everyone
  • Sam_ScopeSam_Scope Posts: 7,647Administrator Scope community team
    Stay warm and safe everyone :)
    Senior online community officer
  • thespicemanthespiceman Posts: 4,800Community champion Disability Gamechanger
    Hello @janejr Good evening hope you OK.  Computer malfunctioned.  Only contact outside is this at the moment.  I hope you will be OK.  I hope you able to get out.

    I assume you are not blocked in.  Been to that part of the UK.  Lovely scenic and really rural.  Great in Summer when went there.

    Hope to speak to you soon

    Take care
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  • thespicemanthespiceman Posts: 4,800Community champion Disability Gamechanger
    Hello @Victoriad Good evening Just great to hear from you.  Hope you are keeping safe and warm.

    May I say that's the best offer I had so far this year.  Thank you.. Well I try to be every body's friend.

    I know I made one here thank you.

    Hope Scotland talking about the weather supposed to really cold up there this week.  I do know the Army, do Artic training.

    Yes just some simple idea's for every body.  To get food in the body to keep warm.

    You might be interested Lentils and Dhal with Naan.  Do that one .. Old recipe when I used to go to Bradford on the A64 little café set on the road.  Arrive you could smell the Dhal for miles a round.  Just Lentils those red ones I use Curry spices and  usual Ginger, Garlic.  He used Fenegreek. not easy to find.  That's all he ever did.

    Found some Fenegreek in Asda looks like Tumeric.  You can buy it ground.  Lovely curry smell.  It is a plant looks like a bush with narrow leaves.  Has little pellets hard to grind, hence buying it ground.

    Worth a store cupboard buy.  Good in Soup and Stews with Roots just gives that curry like hum.

    Please can I add if you wish to have some other recipes to keep your warm.  That are not too expensive.  As a friend I can send you any.

    Take care

    Your friend
  • GeoarkGeoark Posts: 1,142Community champion Pioneering

    Hypothermia is a dangerous drop in body temperature below 35C (95F). Normal body temperature is around 37C (98.6F).

    Hypothermia can be serious if not treated quickly. You should call 999 and give first aid if you notice signs of hypothermia.

    Symptoms of hypothermia

    Early signs of hypothermia include:

    • shivering
    • cold and pale skin
    • slurred speech
    • fast breathing
    • tiredness
    • confusion

    These are symptoms of mild hypothermia, where someone's body temperature is between 32C and 35C.

    If their temperature drops to 32C or lower, they'll usually stop shivering completely and may pass out.

    This is a sign that their condition is getting worse and emergency medical help is needed.

    Hypothermia in babies

    Babies with hypothermia may look healthy, but their skin will feel cold. They may also be limp, unusually quiet and refuse to feed.

    Treating hypothermia

    You should call 999 and then give first aid if you think someone's got hypothermia.

    First aid for hypothermia

    You need to warm the person up.

    Follow these five steps:

    1. Move them indoors.
    2. Remove any wet clothing and dry them.
    3. Wrap them in blankets.
    4. Give them a warm non-alcoholic drink, but only if they can swallow normally.
    5. Give energy food that contains sugar, such as a chocolate bar, but only if they can swallow normally.

    If the person can't be moved indoors, find something for them to rest on to protect them from the cold ground, like a towel or a blanket.

    If they don't appear to be breathing – and you know how to do it – give them CPR, but you must continue this until professional help arrives in the form of the ambulance service or a medical team.

    Things to avoid

    Some things can make hypothermia worse:

    • Don't put the person into a hot bath.
    • Don't massage their limbs.
    • Don't use heating lamps.
    • Don't give them alcohol to drink.

    These actions can cause the heart to suddenly stop beating (cardiac arrest).

    Causes of hypothermia

    Hypothermia happens when your body gets too cold and your temperature drops below 35C.

    Hypothermia can be caused by:

    • inadequate clothing in cold weather
    • falling into cold water
    • getting cold in wet clothes
    • living in a cold house
    • being very tired and cold

    Who's at risk?

    Some groups of people are more vulnerable to hypothermia.

    They include:

    • babies and children – they lose heat faster than adults
    • older people who are inactive and don't eat well 
    • heavy alcohol and drug users – their bodies lose heat faster

    Preventing hypothermia

    To stay warm indoors in cold weather:

    • keep your home at a temperature of at least 18C
    • a baby's room should be 16-20C 
    • keep windows and internal doors shut
    • wear warm clothes
    • use a room thermometer

    Check in on an elderly neighbour regularly during cold weather to make sure their home is warm.

    The government offers a winter fuel payment for older people to help them pay their heating bills.

    See keep warm, keep well in cold weather for more advice.

    To stay warm outdoors:

    • plan your activity
    • plan for the unexpected
    • dress for the weather conditions
    • bring extra layers in case the weather changes
    • change out of wet or sweaty clothes as soon as possible
    • have non-alcoholic warm drinks
    • make sure you're never too far away from help

    As an individual I stood alone.
    As a member of a group I did things.
    As part of a community I helped to create change!

  • GeoarkGeoark Posts: 1,142Community champion Pioneering

    Here is some advice about driving in the snow. While you may not be planning any long distance driving it is worth checking out the tips for long distance driving. Even a short journey you could end up being in your car longer than planned during this type of weather.

    AAA recommends the following winter driving tips:

    • Avoid driving while you’re fatigued. Getting the proper amount of rest before taking on winter weather tasks reduces driving risks.
    • Never warm up a vehicle in an enclosed area, such as a garage.
    • Make certain your tires are properly inflated.
    • Never mix radial tires with other tire types.
    • Keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid gas line freeze-up.
    • If possible, avoid using your parking brake in cold, rainy and snowy weather.
    • Do not use cruise control when driving on any slippery surface (wet, ice, sand).
    • Always look and steer where you want to go.
    • Use your seat belt every time you get into your vehicle.

    Tips for long-distance winter trips:

    • Watch weather reports prior to a long-distance drive or before driving in isolated areas. Delay trips when especially bad weather is expected. If you must leave, let others know your route, destination and estimated time of arrival.
    • Always make sure your vehicle is in peak operating condition by having it inspected by a AAA Approved Auto Repair facility.
    • Keep at least half a tank of gasoline in your vehicle at all times.
    • Pack a cellular telephone with your local AAA’s telephone number, plus blankets, gloves, hats, food, water and any needed medication in your vehicle.
    • If you become snow-bound, stay with your vehicle. It provides temporary shelter and makes it easier for rescuers to locate you. Don’t try to walk in a severe storm. It’s easy to lose sight of your vehicle in blowing snow and become lost.
    • Don’t over exert yourself if you try to push or dig your vehicle out of the snow.
    • Tie a brightly colored cloth to the antenna or place a cloth at the top of a rolled up window to signal distress. At night, keep the dome light on if possible. It only uses a small amount of electricity and will make it easier for rescuers to find you.
    • Make sure the exhaust pipe isn’t clogged with snow, ice or mud. A blocked exhaust could cause deadly carbon monoxide gas to leak into the passenger compartment with the engine running.
    • Use whatever is available to insulate your body from the cold. This could include floor mats, newspapers or paper maps.
    • If possible run the engine and heater just long enough to remove the chill and to conserve gasoline.

    Tips for driving in the snow:

    • Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Applying the gas slowly to accelerate is the best method for regaining traction and avoiding skids. Don’t try to get moving in a hurry. And take time to slow down for a stoplight. Remember: It takes longer to slow down on icy roads.
    • Drive slowly. Everything takes longer on snow-covered roads. Accelerating, stopping, turning – nothing happens as quickly as on dry pavement. Give yourself time to maneuver by driving slowly.
    • The normal dry pavement following distance of three to four seconds should be increased to eight to ten seconds. This increased margin of safety will provide the longer distance needed if you have to stop.
    • Know your brakes. Whether you have antilock brakes or not, the best way to stop is threshold breaking. Keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal.
    • Don’t stop if you can avoid it. There’s a big difference in the amount of inertia it takes to start moving from a full stop versus how much it takes to get moving while still rolling. If you can slow down enough to keep rolling until a traffic light changes, do it.
    • Don’t power up hills. Applying extra gas on snow-covered roads just starts your wheels spinning. Try to get a little inertia going before you reach the hill and let that inertia carry you to the top. As you reach the crest of the hill, reduce your speed and proceed down hill as slowly as possible.
    • Don’t stop going up a hill. There’s nothing worse than trying to get moving up a hill on an icy road. Get some inertia going on a flat roadway before you take on the hill.
    • Stay home. If you really don’t have to go out, don’t. Even if you can drive well in the snow, not everyone else can. Don’t tempt fate: If you don’t have somewhere you have to be, watch the snow from indoors.

    As an individual I stood alone.
    As a member of a group I did things.
    As part of a community I helped to create change!

  • thespicemanthespiceman Posts: 4,800Community champion Disability Gamechanger
    Hello @Geoark Thank you for this.  Hope you OK.  I feel this is good information that we as a community need to know.

    Much appreciated.

    Take care
  • GeoarkGeoark Posts: 1,142Community champion Pioneering
    Hi @thespiceman

    Having been the Chair for our tenant management organisation and an estate with lots of elderly people I worked a lot with our estate manager to ensure the estate was prepared for this type of weather. As well as making sure all our staff are first aid trained, a community room which can provide hot drinks and soup and a warm place is someone's heating goes down, and making sure this type of information is available to everyone.

    We also make sure the main pathways around the estate are gritted, and priority is given to make sure all our vulnerable people are visited by staff to make sure they are safe and to offer advice if needed. We also set up a discretionary fund, so staff can top up gas or electric so vulnerable residents on low income don't have to worry about putting the heating on.

    Having a community where people do look out for each other during this type of weather also helps. Even people who won't speak to one another, if they haven't seen someone for a few days when they normally do will alert staff. They are also our best resource for finding out if someone has been taken to hospital.

    Unfortunately I appreciate that in many communities this is not the case.

    As an individual I stood alone.
    As a member of a group I did things.
    As part of a community I helped to create change!

  • thespicemanthespiceman Posts: 4,800Community champion Disability Gamechanger
    Hello @Geoark That's amazing wish I had that, really supportive.  Good community.  None where I live.  I have tried in the past for the housing association please can you help us.  Spoken to a person who I thought had our interests at heart.  Felt talking to a brick wall.  More like do not care, non entity.

    Us being people in our area who are elderly, disabled and the rest.  Have a neighbour spoke for five minutes last week.  Issue is she's in your face constantly and very abrasive to talk to.

    Who want's that.  Had a mental health support worker arrive first words were her.  What's the issue there then.  Door's open every time visitor comes.

    Last year I did speak to her a lot maybe for a hour well tried to, could not get a word in edge ways.

    Complaining this and that.  What does not help her she has a partner never worked, lot younger, constantly being ill.  Does little to help him self.  She's had enough.

    He's sick at the moment obese over weight never tried to help himself.  I try to talk to him but uses excuses to defend what he is doing.  Tried to impart my health history on him, little things like what we all have.

    Winter right now other day I gingerly asked how can I help?  Snapped at me, so I just left it.

    I have a lad in the other side of me.  Keeps himself to himself.  Never seen him.  Not easy do not know his name.  Blinds shut.  At the end of the row of bungalows.  I believe he does not like me.  Parks behind me.  Can not get out.  There is room just.  If car space vacant takes it with a sneer.  I said you have it.  Will you help me with my shopping.  Spat of fury to that.  Disabled he says to me, so park there I will park else where.  Just nasty bloke.  Got disability but had been told to quit smoking and the rest.  Told me himself.

    Those are the people in my community.  My friend up the road came down but hates it because of these issues.  Old friends will not visit.  So it goes on.  I am a very patience, tolerant understanding guy.  One day some things going to give.

    Problem is the housing association have nothing like a lot of communities have.  They publish a booklet saying we have done this and that for various parts of the country.  My big issue is rang up when power cuts, cold weather, asking advice.  Pain in the butt.  Sorry but I have a boiler that loses pressure arguing on phone to get work men out.  Can not do this have a disability of hands.

    Workmen who turn up are not pleasant, not nice very inpolite.  Which does not help my mental condition.  I will admit one lad out all the work lads very good, rarely see him.

    If you work for a community housing association not good wages and the staff never seen any housing officers.

    Everything is an inconvienance and it irritates us all .  One time when I moved here thought be happy.  Living here is now more like just a place to live.  Roof over my head.

    One final point I am what they call a register for people with disabilities, mental health plus for elderly.  Thought would ring or email.  Housing officer for the community.  Am I living in fantasy land.

    I apologise for long post.  Just I wish and wonder why communities like yours can not be for ever body.  Not for the few.

    Love your posts and articles  Thank you for reading this

    Take care
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  • janejrjanejr Posts: 125Member Pioneering
    Thank you @Geoark for all your info. Morning @thespiceman how was your night hope your warm enough. I woke up around 5.30 freezing cold had to get up and put heating on still cold with heating on so staying in bed 
  • thespicemanthespiceman Posts: 4,800Community champion Disability Gamechanger
    Hello @Victoriad   Morning yes another cold day in winter wonderland of the North.

    I hope every body's been taking on board this cold weather information.  Supplied by @Geoark .

    I just gave my information useful foodie stuff.  Nothing really hard to do.  Thank you all.

    I hope and pray computer is going to be OK.  Keep in touch   Always here.

    Hope you keep safe and warm.

    Just trying not to worry, can not get out.  Not able to do so.  Watched Ray Mears Survival guy.  Useful stuff, could come in handy.

    I do hope to speak to you soon.  Enjoy your bird watching.  This time of year hope you get rare bird species.  Had few times Redwings and Kestrels.

    Scotland get all those Winter birds like Waxwings.  Lovely to look at.

    Take care
  • thespicemanthespiceman Posts: 4,800Community champion Disability Gamechanger
    Hello @janejr Good morning how things.  Up and about, just really like every body else.  Care and concern for our community.

    This weather well it is getting worse.  I am stranded in the bungalow.  Just have to sit this out.

    Got food and enough planned for next week.  My prescription runs meds on Sunday  I put one in.  Hopefully try a contact a friend soon.  To pick this up.

    You the same bit stock up and just hang in there.  If I recall a lot of the Peak District has small villages with everything in it you need.

    Good local stores, I know local amenities Banks, Post Office shut or not available now.  Have to travel to use them.

    Options to use internet I think next time on may be meds.  Saw a service on TV funded by NHS.  Send by Post I believe.  Apply on line through GP. 

    I hope you keep safe, speak to you soon

    Take care
  • Sam_ScopeSam_Scope Posts: 7,647Administrator Scope community team
    How is everyone doing? I have two out of three kids off school and currently holed up at my nans house as she is 93 and lives alone!

    Hope everyone is warm and safe :)
    Senior online community officer
  • thespicemanthespiceman Posts: 4,800Community champion Disability Gamechanger
    Hello @Sam_Scope How are you ?Thank you for thinking of all of us.

    Snowed in live in a bungalow heating on.  Computer went haywire yesterday lost you all my lovely friends all afternoon.

    Main communication breakdown.  Got back on around evening.

    Have enough supplies and food till next week.  Just might run out of meds by Sunday might have to send SOS to a friend tonight, if he can help. 

    Put prescription in and have to collect.

    Keep Safe and Warm.

    Take care
  • deb74deb74 Posts: 325Member Pioneering
    hi everyone. i live in mid wales and at the moment -3 but feels like -9 according to the app on my phone. it isn't snowing here at the moment and the ice on the pavement seems to be thawing. just been for a walk with my dog bella i don't think she is keen on this weather, this morning she kept giving me dirty looks when i put my coat on ready to take her out for a wee. run out of a few supplies. no sausage or bread and running low on eggs but i will do an online shop in a bit and i live next to a shop so if i am really desperate for something i can get it there. got a nice suprise this morning dwp sent me a letter saying they were giving me a cold weather payment. looks like that will come in useful. managed to save myself a bit of money though i bought myself a thick fluffy dressing gown the other day it really keeps me warm.
  • thespicemanthespiceman Posts: 4,800Community champion Disability Gamechanger
    Hello @deb74 Pleased to meet you.  Hope you OK just be sensible reading your post.  Very icy at the moment.

    I have ideas for simple breakfast and other ideas happy to help.  Store cupboard standby's in a emergency.    I will gladly do so.  It 's I think shocked us all.  Can we cope no we cannot this going to happen again.

    Seems these countries who have snow and ice cope better.  Why cannot we?

    That's a thought Cold Weather Payment how much will get.

    Keep safe and warm

    Take care
  • deb74deb74 Posts: 325Member Pioneering
    hi thespiceman. the letter from the dwp says they will give me twenty five pounds a week while the weather is 0 or below.
  • thespicemanthespiceman Posts: 4,800Community champion Disability Gamechanger
    Hello @debs74 ; Yes I get this as well.  I know it is something to contribute to the heating bill.

    I can not remember if it is seven days in a row or just specific odd days.  Worth it I know just helps does it not
  • janejrjanejr Posts: 125Member Pioneering
    Asda ain't coming I can't blame them it's awfull out there. Re booked for tomorrow but don't think they will be able to. Lucky I've stocked up but might run out of bread and milk. I can do without. Hope everyone else ok 
  • Richard_ScopeRichard_Scope Posts: 1,663Administrator Scope community team
    Hope everyone is managing to keep warm?
    Thankfully, not much in the way of snow here. A good tip I have used to keep warm is to use the heat patches for back pain. Cheap and cheerful.
    Specialist Information Officer - Cerebral Palsy
  • thespicemanthespiceman Posts: 4,800Community champion Disability Gamechanger
    Hello @janejr   Really sorry about that.  I wish I was a superhero and help all our community to solve any shopping dilemma's.

    Fly around the country delivering food and goodies.

    Please can I say when buying dairy buy Natural Yoghurt or Greek as well .  If no milk.  Can obviously use on cereal quick breakfast snack with nuts and fruit honey.  Porridge no milk put boiling water to cover.  Just few seconds,  Microwave then allow to stand mix in yoghurt.  Use Cinnamon topping for yoghurt, alternative  Yoghurt good for digestion another form of calcium.  Cinnamon lowers blood pressure and good for anxiety stress.  Just a sprinkle.

     I buy two packs eggs, plenty of yoghurt, milk.  Small ones plus crispbreads and crackers if not much bread.  Malt loaf.  Simple breakfast with fruit and cheese, feta, nuts. 

    They do that in The Med.  Surprisingly filling.

    Hope that helps idea's
  • janejrjanejr Posts: 125Member Pioneering
    Hi @thespiceman thank you thank you for ideas especially like the porridge one as I'm a fan of porridge. Your very knowledgeable on food and their benefits. Do you know foods for with Osteoarthritis as I have it bad in all my joints also have disk desease so anything good for bones and joints would be good to know
  • thespicemanthespiceman Posts: 4,800Community champion Disability Gamechanger
    Hello @janejr Glad to help.  I will explain got understanding Health LEVEL 2.  This qualification from my addiction days.  Also means I have the knowledge and information.

    Got others as well.  

    Also lots of personal experience.  When you are ill.  Do a food diary.  When I was ill with addiction found food that worked made me feel great.  Others I felt worse.

    I have to tell you.  It is worth looking at websites for some tips and tricks to help.  Lots of advice on food there.

    A lot of the conditions you have a lot of it is common sense.  Sensible eating.  Balanced diet.  Usually Calcium rich foods milk, cheese, yoghurt.

    Oily fish Trout, Mackeral, Salmon, Tins of Sardines, Pilchards.


    Cut down on Alcohol, Salt ,Caffeine ,Smoking  or get rid.

    They may be an organisation on the web that deals with your condition.  Also contact well being service in your area.  Learn so much about food and who and why it helps.  The benefits.

    Give it a try.  Last well being course all the ladies,  I am the only gent.  Lot of the services are run by the ladies so worth a look.

    Hope this helps.  Also I forgot SCOPE speak to them.  They have Nutritional Advisor.

    Another one to look at.

    Lovely to talk to you am here to ask anything you wish.

    Take care

    Your friend
  • GeoarkGeoark Posts: 1,142Community champion Pioneering
    HI @thespiceman

    I agree the benefits should be more widely spread. While tenant management is provided for council tenants by law it was never extended to housing associations. I know one or two were interested in setting up their own TMOs but the problem is often the money involved would mean that it would have to be opened up to competition and just not viable.

    The residents set their own service levels and targets and employ their own staff. We have 169 homes, 1 full time estate manager, part time office worker as well as one full time and two part time estate workers for cleaning, gardening and minor maintenance. Plus they work well as a team. 

    Many neighbourhood workers have several hundred homes they have to look after spread over a wide area, rarely deal with the individuals who do the repairs, caretaking etc. Few if any will know all their residents by sight and name, or have the knowledge of their residents ours do. 

    One of our estate workers has worked and lived on the esate for near on 30 years. In the end we had to step in as residents were calling him all times night and day, as well as taking people to their appointments etc. After all he passed retirement age about ten years ago.

    It is hardly surprising then that our residents tend to be happier with their services.

    As an individual I stood alone.
    As a member of a group I did things.
    As part of a community I helped to create change!

  • thespicemanthespiceman Posts: 4,800Community champion Disability Gamechanger
    Hello @Geoark I am always grateful for your posts.  It is a sad case that my housing association now is a shell.

    Properties lie empty and vacant damage to several all over the estates.

    I had a guy turn up and well he stood there no ID and clipboard.  Wanted to come in.  No tie dressed in a shirt and jeans.  Going around the estates doing survey's.  Nothing ever came of it.

    The most annoying aspect kitchens and a lot of stuff they have supposed to have done.  Terrible.  My worry is that I will have to stay here now.

    Can not go any where else.  Moved five times.  If I wish to just feel I can not.  Disability mental health not good.

    The big regret probably entitled to supported living.  Yet query what is that these days.

    Leave here into some thing worse my fear.  I have done that.

    Take care.
  • GeoarkGeoark Posts: 1,142Community champion Pioneering
    7 Pains of winter

    On the first day of winter my true love sent to me a cold, or flu

    Did you know central heating can lower our defences by drying out the nasal mucous that prevents viruses from entering the body, so resist turning up the thermostat beyond 22C (18-21C is ideal).

    On the second day of winter my true love sent me chillblains

    These are caused by exposure to the cold, but when coming in from the cold avoid rapidly heating the body as this can cause chillblains. Sometimes the swellings turn into sores that become infected; if this happens, or you develop a fever or swollen glands, see a doctor.

    On the third day of winter my true love sent to me a cold sore

    Caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus they are unsightly, sore and very contagious. Something to consider before applying infected lips to another person's genital areas!

    On the fourth day of winter my true love sent to me a hangover

    Did you know most of a hangovers symptoms are caused dehydration? Matching alchohol drinks with water and drinking a pint of water before going to bed are the second best way of avoiding the worst of hangover effects. 

    On the fifth day of winter my true love sent to me a heart attack

    Heart attacks increase during cold weather periods because the heart has to work harder to keep the body warm, and this can raise your blood pressure.

    Your main living space should ideally be heated to 21C (70F) but if the cost of heating is an issue use hot water bottles and electric blankets, and keep the extremities warm by wearing a hat, scarf and gloves when venturing outside.

    Importantly DO NOT IGNORE  feeling cold when in or out during severe cold weather, layers are more important than big heavy items.

    On the sixth day of winter my true love sent to me Norovirus

    Nothing like being physically sick to upset your day. This virus should clear up within a couple of days, but consult your doctor if it doesn't. Dehydration is a major risk, drink plenty of water.

    Dehydration: This can be a serious issue and can cause death within ten days.

    Dehydration is the loss of water and salts from the body. The human body needs water to maintain enough blood and other fluids to function properly. Along with the fluids, the body also needs electrolytes, which are salts normally found in blood, other fluids, and cells.

    Hydration satchets can be got at any pharmacy.

    On the 7th day of winter I got rid of my once true love!

    Adapted from an article The 12 pains of Christmas at https://www.msn.com/en-ie/health/familyhealth/the-12-pains-of-christmas-common-winter-illnesses-treated/ar-AAfXXPu

    As an individual I stood alone.
    As a member of a group I did things.
    As part of a community I helped to create change!

  • thespicemanthespiceman Posts: 4,800Community champion Disability Gamechanger
    Hello @Geoark ; Good Morning thank you this.  Just thought charming.  I do know working in offices more prevalent illness and colds in Winter.

    Mystery why any body wishes to come to work with a cold infecting every body amazes me.

    Had a ex-colleague moaning and groaning lonely at home, hang on your ill.  Get your germs then you will be alone because all of us ill.

    Then a boss told her to go home and in front of her and us a dressing down.  Simple demo of germs on surfaces can do.  How long they last.

    Damage was done spent time off ill.

    So every body if you have a cold just keep warm.  Stay in take advice.  Drink plenty, have to be sensible.  Dispose of tissues, wash hands. 

    Spices like chilli can relieve some symptoms of colds.  Vitamin C helps as well.  Lemon water with honey.

    Eat sensible plenty of Soup, light meals if not hungry Fish works for me.

    Hope any of this helps 

  • GeoarkGeoark Posts: 1,142Community champion Pioneering
    Hi @thespiceman

    Agree with you. Sometimes it is a judgement call, if I took time off every time I sneezed, coughed or had a runny nose I would hardly be in work during the winter. Plus working with a team where half have disabiities and long term illnesses passing on bugs can have a serious affect. But then I think most people know when they have a cold.

    And then you have that numpty on GMTV who bleats on about 'manning up' feeding into the notion that wimps take time off for minor ailments.

    Thank you for all the food advice you give. I tend to have at least one one drink a day with half squeezed lemon with hot water during winter. I used to add a little honey, but have been told to cut sugars out of my diet as much as possible.

    As an individual I stood alone.
    As a member of a group I did things.
    As part of a community I helped to create change!

  • thespicemanthespiceman Posts: 4,800Community champion Disability Gamechanger
    Hello @Geoark Thank you for comments.  Always a pleasure.  One final point there are people like myself who can not take these over counter meds for colds.

    Just spending too much and they never ever work.

    That is why I am called The Spiceman, found herbal remedies a bit easier to cope with.

    Less inexpensive.  By having your increased doses of Vitamin C and good diet.  Things like Onions, Garlic the B Vitamins build up the immune system.

    Beans, Pulses, Eggs Fish can help.  Tomatoes and Peppers.  Red Peppers being high in Vitamin C.

    Sugar is the new salt I am afraid.  Shocked a friend who I knew having said sugar in everything, including Bread.  Stunned and said you have to be careful.  Read the label's.  I have not got time she hollered.

    I said I do because frightened of weight gain and possible diabetes.

    I do put into my sauces Tomato Ketchup just a teaspoon.  Helps the acidic taste of Tomatoes in my sauces.  Counter balance.  Use also herbs and spices of course to do the same.

    Certain Sugars that are natural like Honey and Maple Syrup still can be used.

    Small amounts.  Caution needs to taken with dried fruit have high concentrations of sugar in them.

    Although Prunes, Figs ideal for bowel issues like constipation.
    Sultana's and Raisins for energy.  Apricot's for digestion, energy and bowel issues.

    Be aware the need to clean teeth and either floss or use a mouthwash.  Non Alcohol to prevent teeth staining.

    Take care

  • MasahikoHMasahikoH Posts: 2Member Listener
    Hi everyone, this information may be a bit late but this is what I do to help survive cold weather. I hope my tips help someone. 

    First of all I would recommend a chest freezer if you are OK to use one. We then make sure we have a lot of home made meals in the freezer like vegetable and lentil curry, vegetable stews and soups, and other essentials like bread and even cheese! (because sometimes you need a comforting slice of cheese on toast and a brew.)

    We here at my house in the N.W make sure we have a stock of uht milk in cartons over the winter incase you run out of milk and can't live without a brew. We buy about 12 in October/November. Just make sure they have at least a year on them incase you forget about them.

    Always buy your duvets in summer heat waves! It may sound insane but you can buy king-size duvets that are 10.5+ tog in summer for the price of a single 4-7 tog in winter. Buy furry blankets and use them fur side towards you. If you can, make blankets yourself if you crochet, because as it grows it will sit on your lap and keep you warm. Plus it is always empowering to learn a new skill and make yourself something that no one else has.

    Make sure you update you dressing gown every few years if it is fleece as it will compact/shed and loose effectiveness.

    Be on the look out for thermal clothing at the end of summer or amongst camping supplies in summer. They're often half the price than in winter.

    Also look for snow shoes in sports shops during camping season and not cheap shoe shops. The soles are usually better quality and last longer. 

    Buy thermal black out curtains and make sure your windows have been draught proofed.

    Don't be afraid of new technology that you can use to get in contact with family or friends like Skype or other video services. You can use these to catch up with people who you would miss due to the weather. In the past I have set up group video calls with people who I would normally meet up with at clubs and have tea and do the club activities over the call. 

    Also make sure you have a secondary phone you can use to call for help and if your landline phone is being temperamental before bad weather make sure you have a spare so in the worst case scenario and it brakes you still have a phone for emergencies. 

    That's all my tips and tricks. 
  • thespicemanthespiceman Posts: 4,800Community champion Disability Gamechanger
    Hello @MasahikoH Pleased to meet you.  Thank you for the information.  More information I can use to help me.

    I use non defrost three drawer freezer. Small and compact.  Got loads of stuff sauces, soups one pot meals.  Thank you for tips.

    People just think you put in frozen veg and your chips.  More than that.  I use bread buy when it is going down in price.  Small loaf, portion up two slices tin foil.  All my cheese grated.  Buy it whole use food processor grater far cheaper.

    Zip bags my new tip been doing it a while.  When you buy packs of frozen fruit and veg in bags.  I take it out portion it all.  Bags of fruit like blueberries, cherries and others like blackberries.  Do my own mixes in zip bags.

    Useful for soups, stocks, sauces takes up less room.

    Buy tin foil containers old days for meals and sauces takes up too much room.

    Thank you for information on clothes.  I have just got loads of fleeces and t-shirts and sweats.  Reduced in price from Supermarket clothes.  Little as a couple quid each for t-shirts.

    Go around start of year to restock anything clothes.  Got a club card use that.

    Take care 
  • jaycee6jaycee6 Posts: 53Member Courageous
    I love my hot water bottle apart from putting in the bed at night. ,It is .also good to use in day time  put it on my lap keeps you warm while watching tele. Also had to go in garden a hour ago,forgot to take my coat of surprised how much warmer i feel in the house ,think ill leave it on.
  • thespicemanthespiceman Posts: 4,800Community champion Disability Gamechanger
    Hello @jaycee6   Pleased to meet you.  Please be careful going out.  Even short periods of time outside can be dangerous at the moment.  It is not only the cold but windchill factor.

    Temperature here around minus 1 add in windchill another ten degrees to that.  Could harm skin and even I if I want to put rubbish out.  Just outside door.

    Need to dress with layers, coat, wellingtons.  Leave all that.  Got big black bin bags last week.  Tins and jars piling up as clean rinsed out.

    Thinking of your safety and concern.

    Hope you keep safe and warm.

  • deb74deb74 Posts: 325Member Pioneering
    hi all. i have decided to put my heating on in the morning and keep it running on low all day and then turn it up in the evening when it gets colder. keeping it on low all day just keeps the chill off.
  • MarkinsuttonMarkinsutton Posts: 82Member Pioneering
    Hello All 

    how many of you rely on carers. I am worried to ask mine to come just in case something happens to them. as much as I would like to be able to cope on myself the cold makes my CP much worse and the change in temperature sends my spasms off. I had to turn my heating right up last night having storage heaters yesterday they rang out of heat before the evening so went to bed early to keep warm. I also slightly unsure on my feet so going out today food shopping my anxiety is little high as I have fallen over so many times in the pass in the snow once putting me in hospital for 3 weeks as I couldn't get the care support at home. I don't want to end up in that situation again as the NHS have enough problems at the moment without me taking risks.

    I did ask my carers to go shopping for me last week but came back with very little of what I needed and I forget without looking around the shops on stuff I  need around the house. 3 of my carers are off sick, I think I going to take advice from post above about soups etc and bread as those are things i can do on myself.

    the question I really have is any of you cancelled care support? 

  • thespicemanthespiceman Posts: 4,800Community champion Disability Gamechanger
    Hello @Markinsutton   Good afternoon How are you have not spoken for a while.  Always here to chat and give support.

    My concern I hope you keep safe and take it easy shopping.  It is treacherous out there.

    I see reading your post.  I do think it is a shame you rely on services to help and assist.  They do not seem to providing support for you.

    I know the weather is bad, some one should have advised you.  What do you need?.  The main issue some one could have sat down with you and made plans for what you require.

    Reading on the webpages and on the news there seems to a lack of adequate care when the going gets tough.

    I do not understand these services at all.    I understand we have a care system that is failing people.  Never mind the weather.

    Last night got a call from a guy who I had not spoken to me for a long time.  Used to volunteer gardens with him. Snow piled up he can not drive or go out not much food and requiring my help at the last resort.

    Rang me about 9.30 twice.  Then my landline.  I am a charitable guy problem is he lives too far away.  Also if I recall had a attitude issue with me. 

    I suggested go around neighbours have a chat.  They do not care how do you know?  The meds kicking in now really tired.  Not good yesterday.  I am saying.

    Communities help each other.  You help them, they help you just ask.

    Can't you come how I said I am snowed in same as you.  Ended up him being nasty in the end, rang off.

    My point is ask your neighbours for help.  My neighbour next door cleaned some of the snow of my path.  I asked a friend to get my meds from the chemist.

    Please can I ask recipe ideas, cheap ones let me know send them.  Put them on your wall if that helps.  If you wish.

    Take care

  • MarkinsuttonMarkinsutton Posts: 82Member Pioneering
    Hi @thespiceman

    Been out today with carer and managed to get enough food to last me the week so I am feeling a little more happy if carers can't come due to the poor weather. I saw on the news today a carer from Glasgow had died trying to get to people. 

    I used to have a neighbour he would help me out but I rarely see my new neighbour now. She doesn't speak much english so I wouldn't be sure asking. I am quite cut off living up a steep hill.

    I have a meeting next week with care manager about my care as the people I have at the moment don't want to plan and I struggle myself what can be done in the time they are here. I have had really good care in the pass so I know what is possible but these days carers are not treated very well on so little pay. even today the care is worried as she has 3 other calls to go too and her son's school has closed early so he is staying with a friend but she isn't sure she will get to see him tonight. As much as I feel sorry for her without the support I couldn't really let her go home early, and said that I really appreciate her coming as my normal carer has phone in sick.  

    I am lucky that my care manager is very good and understands my needs very well and since losing my home because I could not afford to pay the bills I now rent a place that my landlord has allowed me to adapt it. 

    thanks it's good to chat to people on here it helps with not feeling so isolated. as for your friend it is not nice when you try and offer what you can but then they treat you like that. I have found in the pass people have only helped me out because I would give them money which they never paid back, when I got into trouble with money myself and couldn't give them money they stopped helping me out, like you I want to help out when I can but sometimes you just can't. not that I am saying I only gave people money to help me. 

  • Debbie_ScopeDebbie_Scope Posts: 947Member Pioneering
    Hi Everyone,

    We've been busy at the helpline taking lots of queries about heating and cold weather payments so I just wanted to share with everyone our Fuel Bills pages where you can find out about help available including a link to check if you're due a Cold Weather Payment in your area. I expect most areas are eligible at the moment.

    I also wanted to let everyone know about Local Welfare Assistance Schemes if you're in crisis with your gas and electricity.

    Speak to your energy provider first if you're struggling as they're often best placed to help in emergencies, especially if you're on a pre-payment meter.

    The helpline team has been working hard over various sites including our homes for those of us unable to get into the helpline office. It's been a bit chaotic but we've been working hard to keep the service running and answer as many queries as we can.

    We're just about to sign off for the week ready for another busy week next week.

    Stay warm and stay safe.

    Best wishes

  • thespicemanthespiceman Posts: 4,800Community champion Disability Gamechanger
    Hello @Markinsutton Thank you for reply.  I did see that report about a carer.

    I was trying to explain the main problem was making sure you were adequately provided for.

    I am glad you have spoken to your care manager.  There are things you can do safely and with confidence.  That is good and I wish you well.

    I hope you can get sorted, may I say I just trying to be helpful with knowledge

    That you could use.  I am acutely aware of the care system.  The problems.  I just wanted to inform you.  There is nothing wrong asking for support, advice.

    Us gentlemen some times it is good to say could you advise me on how can I do that?.  Please I need and could do with.  Nothing wrong in admitting failures.  I have learnt so much from our community.  I have to own up and admit I need a helping hand or advice.

    Nothing wrong with being independent but sometimes we need to talk, discuss and get much needed support.

    We are here as a community to support help each other.

    This cold weather has bought out the community spirit in others.  In some the beast and from the east in their minds.

    Yes I agree about the lad who rang.

    It irritated me especially as he ever only rings when he requires or wants anything.  The worse is the start of the call is my name speaking.   Single monotone voice dreary and so depressing.

    I hope to speak to soon take care
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