The cold months affect us all each year. Some people look forward to the respite from the hot, humid summer months, others dread the cold and winter blues often associated with this time of year.
Particularly troubling is the effect the colder months can have on the elderly. Whilst in Queensland, we may not suffer the extreme temperatures that are seen in other states of the country we certainly still have our fair share of cold nights and wet periods.
If you have an elderly family member or neighbour it would be worth checking in on them and ensuring that they are looking after themselves during these cold months.
Here are our top tips on staying healthy and safe this winter:
- Prevent Colds & Flus
If you haven’t already done so, have your shot – flu vaccines for over 65s are free. Reduce the spread of colds and flus and protect yourself against infection by covering your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough, wash your hands regularly and avoid contact with people that have flu-like symptoms.
- Eat well
The elderly at the best of times, don’t always eat properly due to a lack of appetite or isolation, often resulting in a loss of energy. It is also tempting to eat comfort food in winter and foods rich in carbohydrates, however it is important to eat a well-balanced diet. Try and ensure your loved one is eating a good mix of foods high in protein and fibre and low in sugars and fats.
- Stay Hydrated
In the warmer months it is easy to remember to have a drink, but when we are cold, it is much easier to forget to drink regularly and keep yourself hydrated. Keeping your body well-hydrated will help keep your skin healthy, flush out unwanted toxins and keep your body functioning at its best.
- Keep Active
When it is cold, it is far too easy to give into the urge to lie down with a warm blanket and hibernate. This can often result in feelings of depression caused through loneliness and lack of exercise. Try and maintain a good routine involving exercise such as walking and outings to visit friends and family members or trips to the shops.
- Keep Warm
Cold weather is especially dangerous for older people, particularly those with illnesses. Check that your loved one’s home is equipped for the cold months and that they are keeping warm by wearing the right amount of clothing and drinking warm fluids. Also, don’t forget to check the safety of any portable heating devices, electric blankets and hot water bottles.
- Avoid Household Mould
Mould in homes can lead to a number of heath complaints and issues. Make sure that your home is well ventilated and has good insulation and remedy any existing mould outbreaks.
If you have any concerns about a loved one’s or neighbour’s health, we urge to talk with them. If you would like advice about additional help at home for seniors then please visit www.myagedcare.gov.au, alternatively if you would like to enquire about placing a loved one in aged care please contact us today.