As we get older winter can become more of a struggle. Now the colder weather is approaching, it's really important that we look after ourselves and the people in our lives who may need a little extra support.
Many of our clients at Nightingale are elderly and the cold weather can affect them greatly. We have put together some information and tips on how to keep yourself and others safe and warm this winter. We hope these tips will be useful and please share them with someone you know who might need them.
- Make sure the home is warm enough. The ideal temperature for the living room is 21 degrees, while in the bedroom 18 degrees is best. If you have a heating system consider getting it checked, if you have electric heaters do not leave them unattended or covered up. Some people cannot afford to heat their homes properly, this can be a worry, particularly for the elderly. Check on neighbours and relatives and if their home feels very cold or someone is worried about heating their home, try to help where you can by offering advice and support. Consider contacting Age UK, they may be able to help. Wrapping up in warm jumpers and ensuring blankets are within easy reach can help if your home does feel cold.
- Encourage people to look after their health. As we get older, our immune system doesn't function as well, so it's important to take a bit more care of our health. An easy way to protect ourselves from winter bugs is to get the flu jab (if you are over 65 this is free with your GP or the pharmacist). If you care for someone 65 or over, consider getting yourself vaccinated against the flu. Ensure you stock up on cold and sore throat remedies. It's still important to keep food and fluids up, eating hot meals and drinking plenty of warm drinks throughout the day is essential to keep yourself warm and well.
- Wrap up well when going out. If you go out wear plenty of thin layers, layering up in clothes made from cotton, wool and fleece is the best way to keep warm and maintain body heat in the winter. Remember to wear a scarf and gloves too. Try wrapping a scarf around the lower part of your face before you go out in the cold. Doing this will warm up the cold air before you breath it in, reducing the risk of chest infections.
- Stay active. If you can, staying active is a great way to keep warm. Try not to sit still for more than an hour at a time, if you are able and it is safe to do so try getting up and walking around the room to help keep you warm.
- Make time for relatives, friends and neighbours. The darker nights and colder weather can make it harder for people to get out. The elderly can sometimes end up feeling lonely and a bit down in the winter, especially if they are stuck at home. Try to pop in for a chat and a cuppa with someone you know is alone. Ask if there is anything they need, maybe offer to run a few errands or help with online shopping.
We hope these tips will help to keep you and those you know warm, happy, safe and well this winter.