The Nanny State

Help the Aged, in conjunction with Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London, recently issued a leaflet entitled How warm is your Room? The leaflet incorporates a crude thermometer, and against various degrees of heat are the words Too Warm (over 75 deg.), O.K, Cool, and Cold (61 deg.). It is a well-meaning and breathtakingly patronizing attempt to tell elderly people whether they feel warm or cold and whether or not to increase or decrease the heating in their homes. In the spirit of what we thought at first was a joke, we offer a further collection of tips for the over 70s.

A Guide for the Elderly

Help the Aged says that most accidents occur in the home or in the car. Don't let them happen to you!

- Falling up the stairs can result in your bumping your nose. See our leaflet, Nose Bleeds.

- A chair is useful to sit on, but try to make sure it is actually behind you when you sit down.

- A closed door can prevent you reaching your destination.

- 27,805 deaths were caused last year as a result of elderly people falling out of bed. Be aware of your environment at all times.

- Dropping a pan on your toe can be painful. Always hold on to kitchen utensils.

- Hot water can scald. Test the heat before putting your hand in boiling water.

- When having a log fire be wary of falling head first into the fire and damaging your hairdo.

- Being hit by a twenty tonne truck does little to lengthen your life. Look right, look left, look right again, depending on which country you are in. If you do not know which country you are in, phone for our leaflet, Which Country am I in?, a guide to tell-tale signs and clues for the elderly traveller.

- Tables are convenient for eating at, but bruising can be caused if you hit their sharp corners.

- Door frames are designed to support doors. Be careful to walk through the middle of the frame, leaving sufficient room on ether side of you.

- Swimming pools can be dangerous places. Be sure to dive into the water.

- Falling down the stairs can cause injuries. Take care.

- The bollards in car parks are intended to contain cars in areas designed for them. If you have recently backed into a local bollard, phone your doctor and ask him whether you should be driving.

- Driving while answering a mobile phone and freshening up your lipstick could cause a multiple pileup. We advise you to complete your makeup beforeleaving home.

- Stopping abruptly to ask the way from a policeman could cause the car behind you to hit you in the rear. That is, if you can ever find a policeman when you want one.

- Tripping up can cause accidents. Check now for obstructions, turned up rugs, broken dinner plates, umbrellas, car parts etc. And always look where you are going.

- 10, 679 accidents were caused last year by people forgetting to move their walking frames ahead of them as they negotiated a room or corridor. The walking frame does not walk on its own.