Preparing yourself for the cold weather
As we get older, we are prone to losing body heat, sometimes without even realising. As temperatures are starting to drop, this can make us more susceptible to falls and illnesses in the cold winter months.
Whilst many of us who fall over can brush it off and laugh, for the elderly, it is no laughing matter. Falls in the elderly can cause serious injury, sometimes even fractures, loss of confidence and independence. It has even been noted that regular falls are the main reason as to why someone may require care at home or a nursing home.
Losing body heat can also be a cause for concern since the elderly, who have cardiovascular conditions, may find it more difficult to breathe in colder weather. The winter weather can also increase the chances of the elderly getting illnesses such as flu and pneumonia.
If your or an elderly person starts to feel unwell, seek advice from a pharmacist, doctor or call the NHS helpline – 111. Don’t wait until it gets more serious to take action.
We have listed some tips as to how elderly people can keep warm this winter, whilst keeping safe, avoiding slips, trips, and falls so you can have a happy festive period that is full of good times.
Wear shoes that have a good grip
The combination of wet weather and the temperature dropping means there will be more black ice on the pavement and roads.
Black ice is hard to see for anyone and so it is always advisable to wear shoes that have a good grip. The shoes don’t have to be expensive and all types of stores will be able to advise on the pair best suited to you for both safety and added comfort.
Flu Jabs for the elderly
It’s never too late to get your flu jab to ensure you stay safe in the colder months.
If you’re over 65 years old, you can claim your free flu jab through the NHS. Pop into your local pharmacy, doctor’s surgery or even supermarket chemist where they will be able to give you your routine vaccine. This will prevent you from getting the flu, keeping you safe, fit and healthy this winter.
Wear warm clothing
It is so important to wrap up warm.
Wearing Several thinner layers of clothing will keep you warmer than a single thick layer. Choose clothes made from cotton, wool or fleecy fibres which will help to maintain body heat.
Waterproof coats are great to prevent you from getting wet but make sure you still have some warmth underneath with a fleece or jumper.
Scarves are also great in protecting your chest, to prevent chest infections and other cold-like illnesses. Wrapping a scarf loosely around your mouth when outdoors will stop the cold air hitting your lungs which could make you breathless – add a hat and gloves to maintain body heat.
Having a good meal
Having a warm healthy meal is a great way to prevent yourself from getting ill.
Foods that have a high nutritional value such as soups and stews will boost your immune system and keep you warm. You can search basic winter recipes on BBCs good food website.
Keeping warm at home
We all know how expensive it can be over the winter months to keep heating on. However, it is essential to make sure your home is warm during this period.
Try some of these tips to keep your home warm this winter:
- Heat your home to at least 18C (65F) if you’re not very mobile, are 65 or over, or have a health condition
- It’s advisable to keep your bedroom at a minimum of 18C all night.
- Keeping the windows and doors shut tightly, drawing the curtains and using draught excluders will help
- You may wish to heat your home to over 18C during the day or use blankets and clothing to keep warm
- It’s advisable to get your heating system checked regularly by a qualified professional
- Get on the – a free service provided by water and power suppliers for older and disabled people to respond with support quickly during a power cut
- If you have open fires make sure they are properly ventilated
If increased bills are a concern then you may be pleased to know that there are some entitlements you may have access to. Government-funded schemes such as Winter Fuel Payment, Warm House Discount and Cold Weather Payment all aim to assist with heating costs for the elderly. Take a look to see if you are entitled to these benefits.
At Trinity Homecare, we appreciate that during the winter months, it can feel rather isolating, especially if the cold weather and particularly the current restrictions of COVID-19 prevent you from leaving the house. We urge you to keep your usual routine and talk to the people you love just as much – even if that is via FaceTime or over a Zoom call.
We’re here to help
At Trinity Homecare, we want to support life’s journeys for all those who require help, giving access to an enriched quality of life to live happy and healthy.
If you need help in getting around or assistance in getting to appointments then take a look at our visiting home care guide or give us a call 0203 944 1792. No one should feel alone, no matter what time of year it is. Our friendly team are on hand and ready to help with whatever it is you need.