The Met Office and NHS have issued cold weather alerts for the upcoming week and with dangerous winter weather in the forecast, Home Instead Senior Care says now is the time for our elderly relatives and neighbours and their families to brush up on cold weather safety tips.
“Winter can be a difficult time, as the harsh conditions especially impact seniors,” said Trevor Brocklebank, Chief Executive Officer for Home Instead, “We want to make sure elderly people and their loved ones are aware of simple ways they can stay safe and warm throughout the winter and cold weather snaps.” Cold weather can be a great worry to older people. Not only does it pose many health risks which necessitate numerous trips to hospital which can often change lives, but avoiding cold weather and the fear of falling on icy streets can keep people in their homes, increasing the risk of isolation and loneliness too.
Keeping warm is so important yet many people are understandably concerned by the cost of heating their homes, and can therefore potentially be at risk of developing poor health due to being cold. We want to urge people across the UK to check upon their older loved ones and neighbours regularly to ensure they are warm, happy and safe. Your companionship will go down a treat too! There are quite a few simple tips for cold weather to avoid the risks it poses that you can share:
- If you wear several thin layers of clothes, instead of one thick layer, the warmth from your body is trapped in air pockets formed between each layer and is a lot more effective.
- Keep a throw or blanket handy to cover your feet or shoulders. A fleece material is particularly effective as it is incredibly warm as well as lightweight and less bulky than other materials. Be careful not to trip over loose ends!
- Wearing fleece slippers around the house will keep your feet warmer.
- If you can’t heat all your rooms, make sure you keep your living room warm and heat your bedroom before going to bed.
- Always close curtains to keep draughts out. Additionally, keep doors closed between each room.
- Eat at least one hot meal a day. Soup is warming, extremely nutritious and inexpensive to make. It can be kept in a flask for later use too.
- Being prepared in case of an emergency is very important. Make arrangements for assistance in case of a power cut. Keep important numbers in an emergency kit, along with non-perishable foods, water as well as medications.
- If you are cold at night try sleeping in socks. Go to bed with a hot water bottle and keep a flask with a hot drink beside the bed.
- If you want to go outside, make sure you wrap up warm paying special attention to your head, fingers, mouth and feet.
- Be sure to keep in regular contact with friends and family and neighbours, whether it’s a phone call or popping round to see them.
- Take a couple of minutes a few times each day to stretch your limbs to loosen muscles and increase blood flow.
- Stay inside wherever possible – make arrangements for someone else to shovel and salt your driveways and pavements or other thoroughfares you may wish to use nearby.
- Make sure you wear shoes or boots with a non-skid sole and don’t just ‘make do’.
- Have handrails installed on outside walls for frequently used walkways.
- If you use a cane or walking frame, check the rubber tips to make sure they are not worn smooth.
Winter weather can take a toll on everyone, especially our elderly folk. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) can occur in older people and impacts on their emotional health. Some signs to watch for with SAD include: a loss of energy, an increased appetite and an enhanced feeling of lethargy and tiredness. If you notice symptoms are present or becoming more prevalent, talk to your doctor about treatment options.
Please share these tips with your older neighbours and loved ones and remember to wrap up warm and if you have your own tips to share please get in touch!