Winter Health Tips for Older Adults

The harsh winter weather can present many risks for older adults, here we have included some tips on how to support those who might need a helping hand this winter.

Winter Health Tips For Our Loved Ones

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 the recent weather from storm Isha, we ask that you pay extra concerns to the weather. From the blistering cold to heavy winds, these adverse weather conditions can present risky situations for our elderly loved one’s. Whilst the council is working hard to grit and keep Wimbledon and Kingston in order, pavements may still be treacherous due to the likes 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.

  1. 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 an extra pair of socks or a blanket over your knees can help 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.
  2. A Warm Cuppa. One way to warm up fast is to enjoy a hot drink. Offer decaffeinated drinks if they are consuming several cups a day, or try something different, like a warm, fruity cordial or some soothing herbal tea. The streets of both Wimbledon and Kingston have a plethora of lovely coffee shops and cafes to visit.
  3. 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.

  1. The Ten-Minute Walk. If the weather is good enough for a quick walk outside, 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!
  2. 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 block, they might bump into a friendly neighbour they haven’t seen for weeks and enjoy a nice chat, or catch a glimpse of the first snowdrops of the year in their garden. It can feel like a lot of effort, but putting the time into going outside is almost always worth it.
  3. Local outings. Whilst it is important and there are many benefits of enjoying the outdoors, we recommend that you steer clear of areas such as Wimbledon Common and Wimbledon Park to avoid the common risks associated with this sort of weather. Instead, Wimbledon town centre has an abundance of Café’s for you to enjoy.

Important Tips

Finally, there are some important things to bear in mind when considering the health of older adults in the winter.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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, it might be appropriate to set the thermostat a little higher.

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 Wimbledon & Kingston, our client’s well-being is our utmost priority; during these times, we remind our Care Professionals of the dangers of this weather and, therefore, the suitable precautions to take when delivering outstanding care. Contact us today at 0208 942 4137.