How to Keep Your Elderly Loved Ones Safe This Winter
Winter is here again and there is no avoiding the darker nights and colder weather. For many, this time of year is just another season and life goes on as normal. However, as you are probably aware winter is a much more dangerous time of year for older adults.
Due to the colder weather and low temperatures, they are at risk of a whole host of health and safety issues. Thankfully, there are some precautions that you can take to prepare your elderly loved ones for winter and make sure that they are looked after throughout the colder months.
Ensure their home is warm
This may seem obvious and you would expect your elderly family and friends to simply put their heating on when they feel cold but, this isn’t always the case. Older adults can quickly lose body heat and they aren’t always aware of their temperature, making it easy for them to become too cold, too quickly.
It is always a good idea to check that their heating system is in good working order at this time of year and you may want to set an automatic timer for them too. By getting their heating to automatically turn on at particular times or when the temperature drops you can be confident that they are always warm at home.
Keep them active
When the weather is cold and grim outside it is easy for the older generation to become isolated and avoid going out, which leads them to suffer from loneliness or depression during the winter months. You should be convincing them to get out and about, even if it is just popping to the shops or meeting a friend for lunch.
Getting out and keeping active will also help your loved one to maintain their circulation and stay fit. Fitness levels often drop over the winter months and this can cause problems later in the year. Try to help them stay active with low-impact activities like walking or swimming.
Update their winter wardrobe
Swapping from a summer wardrobe to a winter wardrobe may be simple for you but for your elderly relatives it may take some planning or even new purchases. It is so important for elderly people to dress warm on cold days, even if they plan on staying in the house. We would suggest that you purchase them a warm pair of slippers that they can easily pop on around the house.
If they are planning on going outside then a high-quality winter coat is worth the investment. You should make sure that it is waterproof too, in case they get caught in the rain which is highly likely in England. Encourage them to put on a hat and scarf as well, you lose a lot of body heat quickly when your head and neck are uncovered.
Make slippery surfaces safe
As you are encouraging your loved ones to still go out during the winter months it is essential that you make sure it is safe for them to do so. A fall can quickly destroy their confidence and make them hide indoors for the rest of the season. Simply spread grit on their pathways and driveway to prevent slippery surfaces.
It may also be worth installing a couple of handrails for steps and other problematic outdoor areas. They aren’t expensive and they will provide peace of mind for both you and your loved one.
Cook healthy and nutritious meals
During winter your body experiences changes in energy levels, metabolism and even food preferences no matter what age you are. Eating healthy and nutritious meals is a must all year round but especially during winter months. Look into pre-cooking stews or using a slow cooker to ensure that your loved ones get their 5 a day and are eating warming meals.
There are also lots of links to eating well and getting ill. Sticking to a healthy diet won’t completely prevent elderly people from picking up winter illnesses, but it can help maintain their immune system to better protect them. Also, should they get ill, a nutritious diet can help speed up their recovery.
How Companions of London can help
If you take care of your elderly loved one by yourself then the winter months can feel overwhelming. At this time of year, it isn’t uncommon for people to turn to reliable care services. You may find that you feel better knowing that someone will pop in daily for a cup of tea to check the heating, to assist your loved one with a winter walk or to even prepare their meals for them.
These days home help for the elderly can be so varied and as elderly home care providers, Companions of London can provide you with any of the elderly care services that you require. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch today if you need help this winter.