Winter can be tough at the best of times, with limited hours of daylight and colder temperatures. His year with the restrictions to combat Covid-19, it can also feel a very isolating time for young and old alike. This winter we have put together our top tips to help keep elderly family and friends well, contented and safe as the temperatures drop.
Here comes the sun!
Daylight is at a premium in winter – with shorter daylight hours, it can be tempting to stay inside. But if you can, it can be really important to get outside and see natural daylight. Help older family members to take a turn of a garden or take a gentle walk around the block. Not only will moving help circulation, being in natural light can help us feel better and sleep better too. Or if this isn’t possible, why not take them on a drive? Being outside and exploring can help combat feelings of isolation and increase connection too.
When it’s cold, we feel like hibernating move and moving less. But actually everyone, and particularly the elderly, can actually get colder by sitting for too long. If they can, encourage older family members to get up at least once an hour to boost circulation. Of course, some people may need assistance and that’s where our carers can help. As it gets colder, make sure you create a box or bag of sand or salt mixture and pop it by the front and back door to salt the paths of elderly family. Frost and ice can make even the seemingly safest surfaces a hazard.
Eat and drink well
One of the best ways to keep warm and keep hydrated at the same time is with a hot drink. The act of holding a warm mug in the hands can provide comfort when it’s cold outside. Staying hydrated is really important – lack of water can cause appetite suppression. If you need some more advice on how to encourage an elderly person to eat more healthily and stay hydrated, we have some top tips here: Healthy Eating for Older People | Good Oaks Home Care . Warm food is also a great way to heat up from the inside, so if you can pre-prepare some meals for your older family members, so that have something easy, nutritious and fast to eat. Meals like soup also help to increase hydration levels.
It goes without saying, but this year the flu vaccine is very much at the forefront of everyone’s minds. The NHS advice is that if you are more at risk of getting Covid-19 then you are also more at risk of getting flu, and if you get both at the same time you are more likely to become seriously ill. The flu jab is available free to anyone over 50, those who have certain conditions, those living in residential care, those who receive carer’s allowance, those who live with someone at high risk of Covid-19 and frontline health care and social care workers. You can get a flu jab for yourself and your older family member from your GP or from a pharmacy. You can find out more about flu, Covid-19 and what to do to prepare for winter here: Flu vaccine - NHS (www.nhs.uk)
Dress the part
Ensuring elderly family members are well insulated can be vital in ensuring they stay well this winter. Layers are really important as they trap warm air close to the skin. Natural materials like wool, cashmere, nylon, mohair and cotton, worn in layers are soft, warm and can help insulate as the mercury drops. Wrist warmers or fingerless gloves can be very useful for keeping hands warm and helping with conditions like Raynaud’s Disease.
Set up your family members with an easy to use touch screen tablet or phone and set up a scheduled time to call every few days (if you cannot see them in person.) Staying connected is one of the best ways to combat loneliness and isolation. Many smart devices can now be set up to call a list of people through voice activation, making it easier for older people to keep connected. Voice notes and video calls are also a great way to check in. We help all our clients to stay connected and set them up on tablets so they can speak to their family no matter if they live near or far.
Call in the pros
Keep an emergency list of contacts nearby. This could be emergency family numbers, your relative’s boiler provider and a neighbour who can check in. Programme the numbers into their phone or smart device so they can easily get in touch in an emergency.
Good Oaks Home Care provides award-winning home and live-in care of elderly and vulnerable. We live by our PRIDE values of Professionalism, Respect, Integrity, Dedication and Empathy. Good Oaks Home Care believes in creating the best teams to provide outstanding care by valuing, developing and rewarding the caring people that work with them. If we can help you and your loved one or you’d like to learn more, please contact us here.
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