The NHS has issued a cold weather alert for the upcoming week and with dangerous winter weather in the forecast, Home Instead says now is the time for seniors and their loved ones to brush up on cold weather safety tips.
“Winter can be a difficult time, as the harsh conditions especially impact seniors,” said Trevor Brocklebank, CEO, “We want to make sure seniors and their loved ones are aware of simple ways they can stay safe and warm throughout the season.” Cold weather can be a great worry to older people. Not only does it pose many health risks, 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.
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 are urging people across the country to check in on their older loved ones and neighbours, to ensure they are warm, happy and safe. There are a few tips for cold weather and the risks it poses that you can share:
- 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.
- Keep a throw or blanket handy to cover your feet or shoulders. A fleece material is particularly effective as it is incredibly warm but lightweight and less bulky than other materials.
- Wear fleece slippers around the house to keep your feet warm.
- If you can’t heat all your rooms, make sure you keep your living room warm and heat your bedroom before going to bed.
- Close curtains to keep draughts out and keep doors closed between each room.
- Eat at least one hot meal a day. Soup is warming, extremely nutritious and inexpensive to make.
- It is important to be prepared in case of an emergency. Make arrangements for assistance in case of a power outage. Keep important numbers in an emergency kit, along with non-perishable foods, water and 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 are heading outside wrap up warm, with special attention to your head, fingers and mouth.
- Be sure to keep in contact with friends and family, whether it’s a phone call or popping round.
- Take a couple of minutes each day to stretch your limbs to loosen muscles.
- Stay inside – make arrangements for someone to shovel and salt your driveways and walkways nearby.
- Wear shoes or boots with a non-skid sole.
- Have handrails installed on outside walls for frequently used walkways.
- If you use a cane or walker, check the rubber tips to make sure they are not worn smooth.
Winter weather can take a toll on everyone, especially seniors. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) can occur in seniors and impact 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 symptoms are present, 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 please get in touch!