It seems like it only took a weekend for the weather to go from almost constant sunshine to temperatures that make you start thinking about cracking out your gloves and scarves! There are certain health problems and risks that are more prevalent in winter for older generations. Here are a few ways to prepare for and prevent common winter-related problems to ensure your elderly friends and family are safe and comfortable.
For people of over 65 years, the government recommends getting the flu jab every year. You can get the flu jab for free from your GP if you qualify for any of the below:
- 65 or over
- If you receive Carer’s Allowance, or you are the carer of a person whose welfare will be affected if you become unwell.
- You have long-term health conditions
- Living in a long-stay residential care home
We would always recommend the flu jab, so talk to any elderly relatives about whether they have had it done in the last year and book an appointment with the GP if not.
Also ask your GP about the ‘pneumo’ (or pneumococcal) jab. This is a one-off jab that helps protect against pneumonia, meningitis and septicaemia (a type of blood poisoning).
The elderly can feel isolated at any time of year, due to a lack of mobility, but this can be worse in winter, hibernating on the sofa being even more tempting. Although this can often be quite comforting, contact with the outside world is essential. Seeing a friendly face for a cup of coffee can be very revitalising, and can do wonders to prevent loneliness, boredom and sadness. Our carers are there to ensure the client always has someone to talk to, so that they never feel isolated.
Drinking more liquids has a lot of health benefits, and tea and coffee make for a tasty way to do that! All teas also contain a group of antioxidants called polyphenols that can promote health, helping to prevent chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Adding lemon or ginger is a great way to give hot drinks an even bigger boost whilst you stay hydrated. A nice cuppa will help keep you comfortable, relaxed and keep hands warm when it’s chilly, so make sure teabags are always readily available!
Out and About
During winter the outside conditions can be quite treacherous, especially for those with limited mobility. Think about the small domestic tasks such as putting the bin out – it can seem quite daunting in icy or slippery conditions, so always ensure elderly friends or relatives have someone to help them with outdoor domestic chores such as these. Consider if fitting a grab rail outside would be a good idea, or pop round to salt the ground regularly to prevent slips and injuries.
Around the House
Ensure the heating is regularly maintained, and let your relative know that they should not be excessively frugal with the heating bills – their health is more important. Having said this, it is a good idea to have a blanket in every room, as they can be quite heavy to carry around the house. Keep a torch handy in case of power cuts, and a list of emergency numbers in every room in an easily accessible location. Regular visits are essential to monitor the conditions and check how elderly friends and relatives are doing, so if you aren’t particularly local then hiring daily care is a great way to do that.
With slips, trips and accidents more common in the wintery months, a personal alarm can make a huge difference. Whatever the situation, once activated, this alarm will call assistance which will be on its way in no time. Although nothing is better than having someone there to help in person, these alarms can give friends and family peace of mind.
At Universal Care we understand how difficult it can be for elderly people to feel comfortable, safe and happy in the colder months. Our care services are there to ensure that all preparations are in place to keep elderly people safe, and that help is on hand if an incident does occur. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team on 01494 678811 or drop us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss the range of care services that we offer and which would be most appropriate for your situation.