With the cold weather upon us, we really need to take the time to think about the elderly and what we can do to help them. Whether that is making sure your elderly neighbour has enough supplies in case they are unable to get out for a few days. Or ensuring they are receiving their winter fuel allowance.
Here are a few other things that you can do to prepare your loved one for the colder spells:
1. Ensure their flu jab is up to date
With the colder weather brings the increase in bugs and infections, so make sure the elderly patient you are looking after has recently had their flu jab. Trying to stay warm is the body’s priority during winter, so it sometimes struggles to fight infections. Particularly when the immune system is weakened from other medical conditions.
2. Keep the home warm
This goes without saying really, keeping warm should be a priority during the winter months. As a guide, the living room should be around 21 degrees, and the bedroom should sit at around 18 degrees. If your elderly patient can’t afford to heat all the rooms used, just focus on keeping the living room heated (if that is where they spend most of the day), and heat the bedroom a couple of hours before they go to bed.
3. Don’t use cookers or ovens to heat the home
As tempting as it may be to quickly increase the temperature of the house, make sure your elderly patient doesn’t use the cooker or over to do this. They could be putting themselves at serious risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
4. Keep the warmth in the house
Most houses are double glazed these days, which really helps with insulation and stops the heat escaping. However, there may be the odd gap around doors – draught excluders are a cheap and effective solution for this.
5. Make sure there is enough food in the house
Food is a vital source of energy, and helps to provide the body with warmth. Make sure your elderly patient is stocked up on tinned and frozen foods that are quick and easy to prepare. It is important to try and eat 5 portions of fruit/vegetables during the colder spells, in order to keep the immune system working optimally.