As we get closer to the end of the year you may start to see some telltale signs whether it is frost on your windshield a chilly breeze or darker skies.
It’s important for us to remember to adapt to the changing seasons and prepare to stay healthy during this colder weather.
It’s really important for us as family members and caregivers to really think about how we can support our elderly relatives during the winter months.
Here are the six tips to keep you healthy during the winter as temperatures drop and in the colder seasons.
● Plan Ahead
As family members and as caregivers is our responsibility to plan ahead on behalf of our loved ones.
It’s really important to think about things like food, so can we get food delivered? Can we think about long-lasting items? Can we think about freezing meals?
And try and think about what it is you would like to eat when it’s cold, think about soups and really, really nice, warm meals.
● Dress Appropriately
So, again, you need to plan ahead, and on behalf of your loved one, or your client you need to plan ahead and think about what they’re gonna be doing that day.
Are they gonna be going out of the house? Do they need to be wearing a lot of layers? And ensure that the clothes that they are wearing are appropriate for wherever they’re going.
You need to think about footwear as well, so you need to be wearing nice, strong shoes that are gonna help them not slip up on the ice.
● Fighting Winter Time Depression
There’s a huge problem with social isolation in this country, especially in the elderly, and inevitably, as it gets colder this is gonna get worse and worse.
So, we can plan ahead and we can plan around that. Think about going over and seeing an elderly relative at some point in the evening when it has potentially got cold and dark and they may be tempted to get into bed at five, six o’clock, which is a lot earlier than normal.
Think about a video call, think about using different types of technology to interact with your elderly relative.
● Think about the heating in the house
So, one of my examples would be, we had a client last year who completely forgot how to work her heating system. The client was living with dementia but had no idea how to do this.
It was a simple note that we put on the care plan to enable all of the caregivers to adjust the heating to a comfortable level for that client.
It’s really important to communicate this into your family and even incorporate into the rota that actually the heating needs to be set at this temperature and this is what it looks like when it’s on. This is what it looks like when it’s off.
● Keep those spirits up
Just because it’s cold and it gets dark at 4:30 doesn’t mean that you need to go to bed at 4:30.
It’s really important to change our routine to work around that. Think about what time you’re making a phone call. Think about what time you’re going over.
It’s really easy to encourage someone to do something, just if you speak to them about it. So, if you do call your gran, says gran, remember it’s only 4:30.
There’s a program coming on TV that I think you’d enjoy. You don’t need to jump straight into bed.
● Prepare For Storms
If a storm is headed your way, make sure you’re ready. You should check that your heating system works and that your house is properly insulated.
Installing storm windows and investing in snow removal equipment are both effective ways to plan your house for a storm and its aftermath.
● Flu jabs
This one’s really simple. Just make sure your loved ones have had those flu jabs. Remember that for people over a certain age those flu jabs are free and again, it’s about what we can do to encourage them to have the flu jabs.
Can you go and pick them up and take them to the GP surgery to help them, to encourage them to have that flu jab? Can you remind them that it’s free? And can you remind them of the health benefits of doing so?
● Driving Winter
Driving Winter travel may be necessary but snow and ice can make travel difficult.
If necessary, be sure to check the tire tread or turn to snow tires. Have your levels of antifreeze tested, and ensure that your windshield wiper fluid is a winter formula as well.
To prevent freezing of your car’s gas lines, always keep gas in the tank. And make sure to have a car emergency kit handy.
● Minimize Heating Risk
Everyone loves heat to combat cold weather, right? Well, use caution. If you rely on a roaring fire or a roaring furnace, before winter comes, you should have it professionally inspected.
The risk of fire and carbon monoxide poisoning is due to malfunctioning heating systems. Check that all alarms of smoke and carbon monoxide are functioning and have new batteries.
If your elderly parents have in your own home then plan ahead and collect all the cold prevention materials, foods that provide warmth and heat like soup, electric checks up. Talk to them regularly, share your problems with them. Give regular advice from them about your planning.
If your old parents have an aged home care agency then make sure you have regular family interaction with regular visits as well as making sure that they’re warm enough.
You could always arrange for a different family member to phone each day of the week so that they get to have a good chat with the people they love the most and you can have the peace of mind that they’re happy and safe in the winter season also.