In some parts of the country, it feels like we’ve skipped from autumn and gone straight into winter. Freezing temperatures and bouts of snow have already hit – could we be in for the coldest winter ever? Winter calls for even greater self-care to help prevent illnesses over the season, keeping you out of your local GP surgery. Helping older people is particularly important in winter, which can be a tough time for their health and wellbeing. If you’ve got older people in your life, make sure you check in and help them out to get them through the winter months.
Helping older people stay warm
Staying warm is especially important during the winter months. Your immunity can take a hit when cold, and this is heightened in older people – especially those who are already suffering from illness. The NHS’s Keep Warm, Keep Well campaign has some great tips for staying warm during winter that you can share with the older people in your life. If heating costs are a problem, make sure they take advantage of Winter Fuel Payment and Cold Weather Payment grants that are available from the government.
Look for signs of illness
Everyone can come down with the sniffles during the winter months, but some viruses have more serious effects than others. People over 65 and those with long-term health conditions should have a close eye kept on them during winter. If you notice any worrying symptoms or symptoms that won’t go away, help them get to their local GP. Some older people might not want to cause a fuss, but it’s worth getting things checked out.
Help with household tasks and errands
Even the most independent of us can struggle at this time of year. Icy driveways and gardens are big hazards for older people, and if you can do your part to help them with different tasks and errands you’ll be making a big difference. Why not offer to do the grocery shop or pick up their prescriptions? Clearing pathways of ice and leaves can also make homes safer for older people in winter.
Check up on their diet
A diet rich in vitamins and nutrients is one way to help battle winter illnesses. We all love a hot, home-cooked meal, but many older people fail to get the right nutrition – especially if they live alone. There’s special nutrient advice for helping older people to enjoy a healthier diet. If you can, why not invite them round for dinner regularly or drop off some healthy, home-cooked meals to keep them full this winter?
Keep them company
Loneliness is a major concern for older adults, and it doesn’t get easier in the winter. It can be harder for older people to leave the house when it’s cold and dark outside, so keeping them company in their homes or taking them out can make a big difference. A phone call now and then can also make a difference in helping older people feel more connected.
There are many things you can do to help the older people in your life this winter. Remember to check in regularly and ensure they know where to go to get help. 111 offers a great service when people are suffering from health issues and need advice, so help them be aware and know where to go if they need urgent care this winter.