Unfortunately, every year thousands of elderly people over the age of 65 die in the winter months and this is mostly down to the fact that they are much more vulnerable to illnesses during the winter. The immune system is suppressed in cold weather, and this can increase the risk of contracting serious colds and the flu. It can also contribute to breathing problems, cardiovascular conditions, such as heart attacks and cases of hypothermia.
This winter let’s look out for the elderly and make sure your loved ones stay warm and safe!
Make sure they are warm
One of the most important parts of caring for an elderly person is making sure that their home is warm at all times in the winter months. Elderly people take longer to get warm than younger people and they lose heat from their bodies quicker. Due to physical reasons and ageing, they are often less active than younger people, so they can get cold quickly without even realising it.
The temperature of an elderly person’s home should be kept at a minimum of 18 degrees Celsius and they should be wearing an adequate amount of clothing to be warm. Having a microwaveable bean bag or a hot water bottle on standby is a good way for them to boost their body heat whilst in bed or in their living room.
If you find that an elderly person is very cold, then make sure they are in warm dry clothes. Wrap them in blankets and a hat to make sure that a small amount of heat is lost from the body. You can also provide them with a hot drink whilst turning up the heating in the house to raise the overall temperature, so they are comfortable.
Keep an eye on their health
By regularly meeting your loved one, you will be able to spot any illnesses or anything you think needs further medical care. Those who are aged 65 and over are eligible for the flu jab under the NHS, helping to decrease the chance of getting the flu and falling ill.
With Coronavirus still active in our local communities, it is also important to consider vaccination boosters if required to protect family members further.
Offer a helping hand
More often than not, elderly people still struggle along on their own, even when things get too much they can be reluctant to ask for any help. This can lead to them living a restricted lifestyle, in fear of causing an inconvenience to their family and friends, ending up lonely and depressed.
By offering a helping hand throughout the winter, you are not only helping them physically but also mentally. They will benefit from your physical help of shopping, picking up a prescription or driving them around in the cold weather as well as enjoy your company.
Make sure their house is safe
It is important to make sure that your loved one is safe at all times and can get in and out of the house without there being any safety risks. When it is wet or icy, throughout the winter it is easier to slip and fall and this could cause serious injuries among the elderly. You can help by keeping any driveways and paths clean and by salting steps/slopes often. Green mould can also be very slippery so it is important to remove this with a jet wash before it becomes a hazard.