Did you know each winter, one older person dies every 7 minutes from the cold?
The biggest problem for many elderly people is not managing to stay warm enough in their homes – When the temperature drops, older adults run a higher risk of health problems and injuries related to the weather, including hypothermia, frostbite, and falls in ice and snow. Like most things in life, it is better to be prepared. Here are some simple things you can do to prepare and support your loved ones through the cold weather this winter.
Visit more often
Call in or visit more often if the cold weather stops your friend or family member from getting out and about. It’ll also lift their spirits and make them feel less isolated. If you’re unable to call in you can always use IP Homecare to pop in on an adhoc basis.
Check their Food cupboard and Fridge
Ensure they have basic food items in the cupboard or freezer in case it’s too cold to go shopping, or offer to shop online for them if they don’t have internet access.
Ensure a good diet
A good diet is even more important during the winter months. Ensure they have regular meals and at least one hot meal a day to keep their energy levels up. Provide plenty of warming style snacks to be taken with appropriate fruit, fibre in a diet assists with keeping warm. On top of a hot meal, small items such as wholemeal toast, fruit and veg (served as crudités), easy-open tins of soup, cuppa-soups, low-sugar cereal bars and some dried fruit are all good ways of keeping energy levels up and thus deal with the cold.
Pick up prescriptions if it’s too cold for them to go out, or find out if their local pharmacy offers a prescription pick-up and delivery service and don’t forget the FREE Flu Jab if you are 65.
Ensure they don’t have a fall. Put some salt and sand on their steps and path in icy weather. Some councils provide free bags of the mix, otherwise try your local DIY store.
Encourage them to keep warm. Keeping elderly people warm is the most important thing to do during the winter months. Check their heating is in good working order and that it is set to come on at the right time. Their main living room should be heated to 70F/21C, and the rest of the house heated to at least 64F/18C. Low temperatures increase the risk of flu and other respiratory problems and can raise blood pressure. Ensure there are plenty of blankets to hand.
Fires and Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
During the winter months, it is common to use the fireplace or other heating sources. Unless fireplaces, wood and gas stoves and gas appliances are properly vented, cleaned, and used, they can leak dangerous amounts of carbon monoxide—a deadly gas that you cannot see or smell. These and other appliances, such as space heaters, can also be fire hazards so ensure everything is safety checked and all smoke detectors are in good working order.
Some elderly people are worried about using too much energy, especially if they think they cannot afford it. Make sure they are getting their Winter Fuel Payment, which provides between £100 and £300 tax free to help pay for heating. Help them get a benefits check to make sure they’re claiming everything they’re eligible for. Their local Age UK can offer a benefits check, or they can use their online benefits calculator.
IP Homecare are on hand to support you or a loved one this Winter. Whether you’re looking for some extra support during the day or night or even longer periods of care, such as live in care, – we’re here to help.
To find out more call: 0808 274 8827