The winter season can be a daunting time for elderly people particularly when there is bad weather forecasted. It is vital to ensure the older generation is prepared for the weather ahead.
Home Instead is provider of home care services in Ireland and they have issued six tips to ensure elderly people are 'winter-ready'.
Winter clothing is important to keep warm
Home Instead said older adults can have more trouble regulating their body temperature, and significant drops in internal temperature could lead to serious health complications.
The advice is to wear several thin layers of clothes, instead of one heavy layer, and ensure all internal windows and doors are closed to keep heat in. This will ensure they will remain warmer for longer throughout the day.
Family members are encouraged to shop for relatives and neighbours
The care provider said older people may not be in a position to travel to the shops in wet, cold, and dark conditions, or might be reluctant to go shopping as Covid-19 cases rise again.
It is advised to offer to do a grocery shop for elderly neighbors, friends, or relations, and it will ensure they have their essentials to hand.
Elderly people are advised to eat well
The body keeps warm by burning the food we eat, for example: porridge is a good source of nutrients, and quick and easy to prepare.
Friends and relatives can also help by ensuring that there is plenty of tinned fruit and vegetables and non-perishables such as pasta and rice in stock.
Winter-proof the home to avoid hazards
Clearing pathways of wet leaves that pose a trip and slip hazard can help mitigate this risk of falling in bad weather conditions. Blocking draughts and keeping curtains closed at night are important in helping to retain heat in the house.
Stay connected with loved ones
Many elderly people can suffer from loneliness and depression during winter. It is vital to ensure family members keep in touch with elderly friends, neighbours or relatives and to ensure they are being checked in, on a regular basis.
Plan for emergency situations
It is important to be prepared for emergency situations that can occur. Situations such as power cuts or extreme weather can occur often, and one should be prepared in advance to avoid older people going outdoors during these times.
If a medical emergency does occur, it is also important to be prepared, by ensuring that all emergency and family contact numbers are close by. It is vital to have the properties Eircode written in a visible and easy-to-access location.
National Clinical Lead at Home Instead, Danette Connolly, said ensuring our older relatives, friends and neighbours stay safe over winter is the responsibility of all of us and asks individuals to make an extra effort to check in on older family and friends over the coming weeks and make sure they are winter-ready.
"It is important that older people eat regular hot meals, and dress as warmly as possible this winter. Make sure the house is well-stocked with the essentials, such as batteries for the smoke alarm, fuel, medicines – particularly repeat prescriptions – and plenty of non-perishable foods, so they don’t have to venture out in the cold and dark." she added.
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