Winter is just around the corner and while we all look forward to the festivities of Christmas and the New Year’s Eve parties, our elderly relatives often worry about some of the challenges they might face over the frosty season. And not without reason….cold weather increases health risks in older people and the additional isolation that cold weather brings also impacts on their mental health. So what can we do to be there for our nearest and dearest during wintery times? Here’s a quick run down of tips from Ability Superstore:
Make sure their homes are winter ready
- Keep indoor temperatures at at least 18°C or more
- Invest in a talking thermometer from Ability Superstore that can be set to either tell you the temperature at a certain time, or when the home is too warm or too cold.
- Make sure their boilers are serviced every year, to make sure it is functioning properly and to the best standard. If there are any gas appliances in the home, they should also be safety checked every year.
- Bestow them with gifts of slippers, electric blankets (whether it’s for bed or a heated lap blanket for sitting in the living room) and dressing gowns to keep them toasty throughout the chilly months.
Get them Winter ready for the outdoors
- A thick coat with 2 or 3 thin and loose layers underneath is imperative, along with thick socks and boots, a hat, mittens rather than gloves, and a scarf big enough to cover their face and neck. Warm, insulating clothing will protect elderly people from hypothermia and frostbite which they are much more likely to develop than younger relatives.
- Regularly scatter salt grit across their gardens – the bags they come in are very heavy and your elderly relatives will be unable to move them about so do the hard work for them.
- Make necessary additions to their home, such as grab rails and nonslip mats by the front door, as well as a security light for the shorter days and longer nights.
- Ice picks that slip onto boots can help to increase their stability when walking on ice ground. Take them out for a walk when the weather begins to turn and make sure they get the hang of walking in short, flat steps for increased stability and safety when they are walking alone.
- A correctly measured and adjusted walking stick can also help lessen the chance of falling in snowy weather. Ability have created a guide to measuring a walking stick, which will not only improve stability but also reduce any strain on the body due to poor posture.
Additional help to keep them warm in winter
- Make sure they are enjoying hot drinks and eating warm and nutritious meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner in winter, to keep their body as warm as possible – why not take them some stew or soup round in batches that can be frozen, or better than that, invite them round for dinner as often as possible?
- Baths are a great way for them to keep warm too, but if they have trouble getting in and out of the bath, you could fix a grab rail to the edge of the bath, that makes it easier to pull themselves up and out of it. There are also bath steps available that can help with this too.
Do you have an elderly relative you worry about over the winter months? What do you do to help them get through the Winter season? Do leave a comment and share.
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