Looking After the Elderly During the Winter Months
We are all starting to feel the cold of winter starting to bite, as the last few weeks have seen temperatures drop very low across the UK. The cold weather isn’t enjoyed by many, but for the elderly, it is not only unpleasant but can be a matter of life and death. As the winter starts to set in, many elderly people will suffer health problems due to the cold. As people get older, the body takes longer to get warmed up, which can cause all sorts of health problems. Once the cold sets in respiratory problems can occur, which can then become life-threatening. As a rough guide, the living room temperature should be kept at 21 degrees Celsius, and the bedroom should be 18 degrees Celsius, but shockingly there are many old people living in temperatures a lot colder. Here are a few things that you can do to help older people during the winter months…
Check in on them more regularly – Check the temperature in the room, ask after their general health and wellbeing, and make them some warm food if they are struggling to do things for themselves. Even a warm bowl of tinned soup can help, it doesn’t need to be a gourmet meal! If they are finding going shopping difficult, ensure that their cupboard is well stocked up with plenty of tins, in case they are unable to get out to the shops. Make sure that they are comfortable in their home and have plenty of warm blankets and clothing like wool socks and slippers and thick dressing gown.
Help with chores – During the winter months, venturing outside can be difficult and dangerous for an elderly person. If they need anything, and it is cold, go to the shops for them or collect any prescriptions that they need. It is worth checking with their local pharmacy, as some offer a delivery service for prescriptions. The ice is another danger – you can help with this by gritting and salting any steps or paths that they have outside around their house and in their garden. This will help to avoid slips and falls. Check with the local council as they provide bags of grit for free.
Help with Finances – If they are struggling to pay their bills, and are living in the cold as a consequence, encourage them to get a benefits check. They may not be claiming everything that they are eligible for. You can use this online benefits calculator. If you are very worried about a parent or relative in the winter months, you may want to consider a granny annex from http://www.annexespaces.co.uk/ . This is a great way for an elderly person to keep their independence and you can keep an eye on them as they are in your own garden! It will help them to alleviate any worries about heat and you can help them with their daily needs if they are struggling.