As winter draws in, it pays to be prepared. There are a few simple steps which you can take to help during the cold period. It is also important to ensure loved ones, particularly the elderly, are prepared.
Being cold, especially if you are over 65, can trigger a rise in blood pressure which puts you at risk of a heart attack. Breathing in cold air can also increase the risk of chest infections.
Your home should be at least 18 °C. During cold spells, keep your windows closed at night as this could cause a real drop in the temperature indoors. Consider getting your boiler serviced before the coldest weather arrives and check that your pipes are insulated to avoid them freezing.
To keep warm inside, wear several layers of clothing which will keep you warmer than one thick layer as the layers trap warm air. When the weather gets especially cold, wear thermal underwear, socks and a hat as a lot of heat is lost through your head. Try and stay active when inside and do not sit still for long period. If walking is difficult, you can do chair-based exercises. Even simply moving your arms and legs and wiggling your toes will get your circulation going.
People spend more time indoors during winter and may eat a smaller variety of foods which can cause nutritional deficits.
Include a good range of foods in your diet and aim for five portions of fruit and vegetables each day, so that you’re getting plenty of nutrients and vitamins. Vitamin D deficiency is common so try to eat foods that are fortified with the vitamin, such as milk, grains, tuna and salmon.
Hot meals and drinks will help to keep you warm. Try and have a hot drink before bed and keep one in a flask by your bedside.
Think about a few freezer-friendly foods and how to combine them with store cupboard staples that you can use to prepare a meal if you cannot get out to the shops due to the weather.
Get a flu jab
Flu affects people in different ways and can cause severe illness among vulnerable people, such as older people and those with chronic health conditions.
Vulnerable people are advised to have an annual flu jab. The vaccine is offered free to people born on or before March 31 1954 and you can contact your GP or pharmacist to arrange it. Our Carers can also arrange this for Clients.
Avoid slipping on ice
Falls are a common occurrence during the winter period, particularly for older people. While younger people often recover relatively quickly from such injuries, older adults can face complications.
Make sure to wear shoes with good traction and non-skid soles, and try to stay inside until the roads are clear. Remove shoes once you return inside as snow and ice which has attach to the soles can lead to slippery conditions inside once melted. If you use a cane, replace any worn cane tips to make walking easier.
Keep the winter blues at bay
Cold weather can make it more difficult and dangerous to get out and about during winter. As a result older people may find it harder to stay socially active which can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation.
To help avoid this, check in on older relatives and neighbours as often as possible. If you are unable to do this, The Care Collection can provide a companionship service. Otherwise, a daily phone call can also make a big difference.