Whether you’re a Care Professional looking for the best ways to support your clients, or an adult concerned about an elderly parent, these top tips will help you to support the older adults in your life. Winter can be a difficult time for the elderly, and risks can arise if proper precautions aren’t taken. Here are our best tips for supporting older adults in the winter.
Winter Weather Warning
With Storm Isha presenting treacherous conditions across the country, including Richmond, we ask that you pay extra concerns to the weather. From the icy cold to strong winds, these adverse weather conditions can present potentially dangerous situations for our elderly loved ones. While the council is working hard to grit and keep our beautiful Richmond in order, our local area may still be potentially dangerous due to the presence of ice or fallen branches. Recent BBC weather forecasts show that these conditions are expected to continue into the near future.
Dealing with the Cold
Many older adults live in older properties that can be difficult to heat, or you might find that the elderly are reluctant to turn on the heat if they’re worrying about expensive bills. These tips will help keep everyone safe and warm when cold weather approaches.
- Layer Up. When we’re trying to avoid turning on the heating, the best way to stay warm is to put on extra layers. It’s surprising how even just an extra pair of socks or a blanket over your knees can help to keep the heat in. Be mindful of garments with fiddly buttons that some might find tricky to remove. Hats and gloves can be worn inside as well as outside if the weather is particularly chilly.
- A Warm Cuppa. One way to warm up fast is to enjoy a hot drink. Offer decaffeinated drinks if adults are consuming several cups a day, or try something different, like some soothing herbal tea.
- Localised Heating. While heating the whole house feels redundant for just one person, you can help our loved ones stay warm by making a hot water bottle to cuddle up with on the sofa. Closing internal doors is a good way to keep the heat in if there are rooms they use more than others, and you can always alter the heat output on the radiators just to heat the rooms they use.
Out and About
It can be tempting to batten down the hatches and stay home when the weather is miserable, but there are multiple benefits to getting outside in all appropriate weather conditions. From fresh air and exercise to improving mental health, older adults should be supported in making connections with the outside world throughout the winter.
- The Ten-Minute Walk. If the weather is good enough for a quick walk outside through the high street or Richmond Park, take the opportunity to do so. Even if you’re only pottering together in the garden for ten minutes or nipping down to the shop, those are ten minutes of good exercise and fresh air, as well as the time spent putting on warm shoes, coat, scarf etc… (all providing gentle stretches and exertion that they wouldn’t get from just sitting on the sofa). After a bracing walk, coming back to a nice cup of tea and a sit down will feel all the more satisfying!
- New Experiences. We all know that feeling of wanting to hunker down in the winter, but getting out of the house will give our older loved ones a chance to have richer day-to-day experiences. In a quick walk around the high street, they might bump into a friendly neighbour they haven’t seen for weeks and enjoy a nice chat. It can feel like a lot of effort, but putting the time into going outside is almost always worth it, especially in a beautiful area such as Richmond.
- Local outings. While it is important and there are many benefits of enjoying the outdoors, we recommend that you clear of areas such as the forest areas of the beautiful Richmond Park to avoid the common risks associated with this sort of weather. Instead, Richmond Town has many lovely shops and cafes you can visit safely.
Here are some important things to bear in mind when considering the health of older adults in the winter.
- Mental Health. Staying warm is important, but our mental health can take a knock in the wintertime too. If older adults are stuck indoors and reluctant to get out and about, they can lose social connections and a sense of routine. If going out isn’t an option, it’s good to encourage those to make an appropriate indoor routine to help their mental health, such as scheduling phone calls with friends and family or taking up new indoor activities like scrapbooking, chess, or painting.
- Winter Fuel Payment Grant. Those born before 25 September 1957 could get between £250 and £600 to help them pay their heating bills. This is well worth looking into for your older loved ones who are feeling the cold.
- During the winter, it is recommended to keep our homes at a temperature of at least 18°C. For those with health conditions or the elderly who might feel the cold more, setting the thermostat a little higher might be appropriate.
Looking after older loved ones has different challenges at different times of the year, but there are many ways to overcome the obstacles that the winter can pose. Find ways to keep the elderly comfortable and content, whatever the weather.
At Home Instead Richmond, our clients wellbeing is our upmost priority, during these times we remind our Care Professionals of the dangers of this weather and therefor the suitable precautions to take when delivering outstanding care. Contact us today at 020 3879 7877