Let's Work Together - Warning Bells

How to spot if a person might be cold or living in fuel poverty

  • Only heating one room, even if central heating is present
  • No sign they are using heating appliances in their home
  • Cold to the touch, breathing problems, wearing additional layers, winter clothing or blankets
  • Damp patches, condensation or blocked vents in the house

How to spot if a person might be struggling with housing repairs

  • Complaints from neighbours
  • Unwilling to open doors or allow access into their home
  • External signs, such as rubbish or untidy garden
  • No sign they are using heating appliances in their home
  • Slipped slates or tiles
  • Leaking gutters
  • Rotten, draughty windows and doors
  • Uneven paths
  • Signs of damp and mould
  • Old/damaged electrical wiring or sockets
  • Old/damaged gas appliances

How to spot if a person might be struggling with debt

  • Little obvious food in the house
  • Few possessions
  • Or, excess of costly possessions in poor quality housing
  • Poor or untidy clothing
  • Unwilling to open doors or allow access into their home
  • Living in one room 
  • No sign they are using heating appliances in their home 
  • Stacks of unopened post

How to spot if a person might be at risk from falls

  • Obvious bruises on body
  • Using furniture to hold onto when moving around 
  • Feeling Dizzy 
  • Generally unsteady on feet when walking or moving 
  • Lack of hand rails or walking aids 
  • Cluttered living space 
  • Struggles to get out of a chair 
  • Does not pick feet up when walking 
  • Reports problems with their balance

How to spot if a person might be at high risk from fire

  • No working smoke alarms
  • History of previous fires - Burnt cooking utensils, clothes or carpets
  • Blocked exits 
  • Open fires 
  • Smoking materials discarded carelessly 
  • Overloaded sockets
  • Old electrical appliances 
  • Smoke alarm goes off whilst cooking 
  • Tea towel over cooker
  • Using traditional chip pan 
  • Signs of alcohol or drug use 
  • Mobility or sensory impairment 
  • Had a life changing event 
  • Not had a Home Fire Risk Check

How to spot if a person might be afraid of crime or anti-social behaviour

  • Tells you they are frightened of crime or anti-social behaviour 
  • Tells you their life has changed due to crime or anti-social behaviour

How to spot if a person might be at high risk from crime

  • Door unlocked for anyone to walk in 
  • Doesn’t check your identity 
  • Key is left in the door for anyone to find or use 
  • Signs back of premises is insecure - broken fence panels etc. 
  • Signs house is insecure - broken window locks etc. 
  • Tells you they keep cash in the house 
  • Has received cold callers or high pressure sales calls 
  • Has engaged with a tradesman who cold called
  • Has given bank details to cold callers 
  • Has responded to unsolicited emails or competitions asking for money or bank details 
  • Feels under pressure to give cash or valuables to family or carers

How to spot if a person might want guidance on smoking

  • Ashtrays in multiple rooms 
  • Overflowing ashtrays 
  • Cigarette packaging discarded carelessly 
  • Ash on floor 
  • Smell of smoke in house 
  • Smell of smoke on breath 
  • Burns on the carpet

How to spot if a person might want guidance on alcohol dependency and substance misuse

  • Bottles of alcohol around house 
  • Large amounts of discarded bottles next to bins 
  • Smell of alcohol on breath 
  • Slurred speech 
  • Erratic behaviour 
  • Comments about drinking/drug habits 
  • Evidence of drugs or paraphernalia 
  • Unusual smells on breath, body or clothes
  • Bloodshot eyes or pupils larger or smaller than usual
  • Difficult as this can be a hidden issue.

How to spot if a person might want guidance on weight issues

  • Struggles to walk and get around the house 
  • Sits a lot to recover after moving 
  • Breathing difficulties 
  • Problems sleeping 
  • Empty food packaging discarded carelessly
  • Comments on lack of physical activity 
  • Doesn’t cook regularly

How to spot if a carer might be struggling to cope

  • Feeling/helpless/hopeless/down/frustrated 
  • Admits to being short-tempered 
  • Talking about never having any time for themselves
  • Looking tired or expressing feeling tired a lot/all of the time 
  • Looking neglected themselves (often with the person they care for looking immaculate)
  • Feeling that they are losing the person they care for
  • Talking about getting up a lot at night to care for the person
  • Discusses the level of need/agitation of the person cared for
  • Appearing unwell/chronic health problems 
  • May be struggling with everyday tasks such as shopping, housework and gardening due to caring role

How to spot if a person might be socially isolated and/or lonely

  • Lives alone 
  • No support network of family friends or neighbours 
  • Unable to leave house unassisted 
  • Feelings of helplessness or hopelessness 
  • May appear depressed/neglected appearance 
  • Little or excessive communication 
  • Recently bereaved 
  • Reduced sense of purpose 
  • Sadness 
  • Chronic health problems resulting in poor mobility

How to spot signs of Domestic Abuse

  • Injuries which seems inconsistent with the explanations 
  • Evidence of multiple injuries
  • Minimisation of the extent of injuries 
  • Presents as frightened, excessively anxious, depressed or distressed
  • Passive or afraid of their partner 
  • Partner appears aggressive and overly dominant
  • If a disclosure of domestic abuse is made always refer to Staffordshire Women’s Aid 24 Hour Helpline - 0870 2700 123

How to spot if a person may not be getting the most from their medicines

  • Medicines spread through the home
  • Medicines running out at different times of the month 
  • Medicines found in dustbins, ashtrays, behind cushions
  • Empty medicine containers in the home
  • More than two month’s supply of medicine in the home
  • Taking medicines at irregular times during the day 
  • Lots of medicines in the ‘medicine cabinet
  • Medicines coming from several different pharmacies
  • Medicines running out sooner than expected 
  • Medicines left in blister packs when they should have been taken
  • Falling over
  • Sickness and dizziness
  • Extra sleepiness during the day

For more information about Let’s Work Together in the Stafford District please don’t hesitate to contact us.


Jan Silvester
Tel: 01785 619 477
Email: jsilvester@staffordbc.gov.uk

Ella Smith
Tel: 01785 619 595
Email: esmith@staffordbc.gov.uk   

Related pages
Let's Work Together
Related links
Adobe Reader
Related documents
Warning Bells Leaflet (pdf 195kb)
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