Find out the best ways to stay warm and safe during the colder months when certain risks to the elderly are more prominent.
Winter can be a really risky time for the elderly. Slips and trips can be life-threatening, there are endless loneliness statistics that we see on TV and in the media. Just last year the papers reported 34,000 excess deaths within the elderly population over winter, likely because of a flu outbreak.
Even without the risks, the colder months simply make life more difficult for all of us. The weather throws out public transport times, delays flights and trains, the shops open and close differently and Christmas is quite emotional if you’ve lost somebody, or if you find yourself socially isolated.
If you are elderly, it is so important that you do everything you can to stay safe this winter. The more things you do to prevent injuries or issues, the more likely you are to stay happy, well and to even enjoy the colder months too. Here are our top tips for staying safe in winter:
Protect Yourself Against Slips
Even a rainy pavement can be slippy, let alone one with ice or snow on it. Sadly falls are very common amongst the elderly and can lead to fractures and a long recovery time. Protecting yourself against falls begins with ensuring you are strong. The stronger you are, the more likely you are to protect yourself when you fall, or to recover quickly. Strength and resistance training is key to staying strong. Wearing sturdy shoes, avoiding dangerous walking routes, using mobility aids and watching where you are walking is so important and will help you avoid slips and falls.
Wearing warm clothes inside and out is so important because you are more prone to hypothermia when you get older. Lots of older people worry about heating the home and if that is the case for you, please do look into benefits you can get to help you with the cost of heating.
It is also important that you also dress for warmth inside and outside of the house. Wearing extra layers will help keep you insulated, especially if you do venture out on a cold day. Lots of layers, lots of warm materials like fleece and lots of accessories like socks and scarves.
Don’t Let The Winter Blues Get The Better Of You
The winter blues can be hard but, they are something that goes away enough for you to enjoy life. If your winter blues are potentially veering towards depression, then it is time to speak to your GP about how you feel. Depression is serious and there is a lot of help you can get to cope with this debilitating illness.
Always have food in your home to consume should the weather keep you in. Tins of soup, frozen stews and ready meals – everything you need to keep you warm during the coldest times. It is also worth checking weather reports before you plan to go out, and checking the timetables of public transport if you rely on buses.
Malnutrition is a real risk for the elderly, and obesity can be an issue too. Staying healthy is so important through winter and all year round. Do eat a balanced diet, do exercise and do consult your GP for blood tests if you suspect you may be deficient in certain vitamins.
If you are concerned that you may need more support to stay safe at home, please reach out to friends and family. It might be time to consider home care services, live in care or a residential care home. Do look elderly care to see how both could be beneficial to you if you do need support and care at this time in your life.