Over 50s organisation Saga is urging local authorities to engage in the Big Snow-ciety – and put a priority on freeing older people from imprisonment in their own homes during the big freezes.
The UK doesn’t do bad weather particularly well, and, because we’re such a vehicle-driven society, roads often appear to get more attention more urgently than pavements – meaning some older people can end up literally risking their lives walking to the local shop for a loaf, says Saga.
“In previous big freezes it always seems to be the roads that get the priority. While roads have to be made safe, of course, pavements are seemingly under-rated when it comes to snow and ice clearing. This can make older people prisoners in their own homes,” said Ros Altmann, Director General of Saga.
“Sometimes the safest places for older people to be is actually in the vicinity of the big supermarkets or their local shops, where both the big stores and the local shopkeepers do a great job of tackling ice and snow.
“This, of course, could be for legal reasons as well as customer relations reasons, but, regardless, local authorities and highways authorities could learn a great deal from image- and safety-aware commercial organisations.
“We’d encourage local authorities to engage in a ‘Big Snowciety’ approach to making the pavements safer for older people during big freezes – perhaps recognise that resource to salt or clear a rarely-used suburban road could be redirected into making pavements vastly safer for older pedestrians.
“They may argue that the pavements are empty, so why do they need the effort – but the fact is that if the pavement is dangerous it’ll remain empty until it’s made safe”
For further information please contact the Saga Press Office on 01303 771529