Tips for Looking After the Elderly During Winter
Most of us will either love or hate winter, but we always need to be aware of the hazards it poses to us all; especially the elderly and/or vulnerable. Therefore, we should all think more proactively about how we can help those who may need more than a cup of tea and jumper to keep warm during the season.
Preparing for Power Cuts & Loss of Heating:
It is not something which is widely broadcasted, which is a shame because it’s extremely beneficial, but energy suppliers for gas and electricity will often have a priority services register. Generally, this is a free service which registers those who are elderly and/or vulnerable which identifies vulnerability in the home. Should the power go out and the supplier needs to be notified, the caller will take priority in the call queue as it is deemed as an emergency, should the needs of the individual are of high dependency on medical equipment in the home i.e. oxygen machines etc. the supplier can sometimes provide a generator. However, this would be in an emergency situation and dependant on the severity of the fault.
Please make sure to call your supplier to register someone who is elderly and/or vulnerable and ask for more information about the service from your supplier
We know that the older generation are not wasteful and may sometimes put their pride over health; thereby the heating will not be on as much as it should be because they’re afraid they cannot afford to keep the heating on. Commonly referred as a ‘Heating or Eating’ lifestyle, but if income is low or there is any entitlement to benefits such as Universal Pension Credits, amongst other entitlements, there may qualified for Warm Home Discount (WHD). This is a government incentive to help those who have stretched finances to give some relief and encourage them to use their heating over the winter months, as there is money applied to the account after winter to help with the costs.
Please call your electricity supplier to find out more about Warm Home Discount and what the criteria is to qualify for the winter payment.
Winter is the perfect excuse to eat and keep our bellies full with delicious, hot food as it keeps us warm as well as happy. AgeUK have suggested eating a least one hot meal a day and drinking hot drinks throughout the day and even having one before bed (just try to keep the caffeine low otherwise there will be some trouble sleeping). It is also a good idea to keep the cupboards stocked up and with the age of the internet you can have your shopping delivered to your door; to save you from stepping out into the cold.
Getting the yearly flu jab may help you steer clear of feeling groggy and low during winter. If you are over the age of 65, or have any health conditions, the Government suggest that you get the flu jab every year.
To qualify from getting the flu jab from your GP for free you must be:
- 65 or over
- If you receive Carer’s Allowance, or you are the carer of a person whose welfare will be affected if you become unwell.
- You have long-term health conditions
- Living in a long-stay residential care home
Welfare and Mental Well-being
Socialising can help us from feeling low, especially during the cold, dark winter days. Make an effort to see friends and family more, speak with them regularly on the phone and plan visits with each other. This contact and having plans made give us something to look forward to and this may help the days go by a little quicker and back into the summer time where we can warm up again!
For more information on staying fit and well this winter, please visit: www.ageuk.org.uk to see what you should do to help yourself, or someone else, during the cold snaps.
Useful information on keeping warm this winter is also available from www.nhs.uk/livewell/winterhealth