As the weather gets colder and the mercury plummets below zero, it’s time to help our elderly friends and family stay healthy and warm this winter. According to Age UK, “1 older person dies every 7 minutes from the cold weather and many more become seriously ill.” But, there are steps we can take to ensure our elderly loved ones are looked after and able to stay warm and healthy in the winter.
Why are elderly people more likely to become ill in colder weather conditions?
Often, older people are more at risk because their bodies can struggle to adjust to sudden changes in temperature change. In addition to developing illnesses such as the flu or pneumonia, the cold weather could thicken the blood and increases blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
How can an elderly person stay warmer in the cold weather?
Simple steps like wrapping up a little warmer, wearing more layers and staying indoors in subzero temperatures can all help to stay warmer. It’s also advisable to keep windows closed at night when it is even colder and keep your home (especially the living room and bedroom where an elderly person may spend most of the day) warm throughout the day.
What can you do to help an elderly person?
Check in with an elderly friend, family member or neighbour by visiting them often during the winter. Not only will they appreciate the social visit, but you can check they have enough food in their home if they are not planning on going out in the cold. Check they are safe and warm in their homes by helping them adjust the temperature of their heating or closing a high window they may not be able to reach. You can also encourage them to wear more layers and wrap up with a scarf and gloves if they do need to go out. Suggest they have a good grip on their shoes or boots if it’s snowing so they can avoid any slips and falls on icy surfaces and pavements. Finally, why not suggest you bring them their weekly food shopping or prescription medication if they cannot go out during the winter.