Brrr! Winter has spread its icy fingers around us and it’s time to dig out our winter coats and boots to brave whatever it decides to throw at us over the next few months.
However, spare a thought for the many elderly people living amongst us and for whom winter can be a long and thoroughly miserable experience. Even with the government’s Winter Fuel Payment, many seniors live in older style houses that are costly to heat and cause worry about bills. Government guidelines state that room temperatures for the elderly should not drop below 21⁰C but this is not always possible if you live in an old draughty Victorian house.
However, here are a few tips that can still help:
- Draughty doors? Hang a curtain in front to keep cold out (for an instant ‘fix’ use a telescopic rod between the frame and a length of fabric that reaches to the floor).
- Keep the heating on at night; it is more costly to keep heating up a cold house during the day than to keep it at an ambient temperature throughout.
- Wear plenty of layers. Dig out that thermal vest and add a roll neck jumper with a thick cardigan on top.
- Fingerless gloves are ideal for elderly people as they can still use their fingers for reading etc. Those made from Neoprene are ideal as they are waterproof and can be kept on for dishwashing etc. A lovely way to keep older hands warm is with our Twiddle Muff cosy companions – choose from delightful cats, dogs or tartan, they all include a soft little ball inside to exercise fingers at the same time.
- Wear a cosy hat. Most heat is lost through the head and older people are more likely to have thinning hair which gives less protection from the cold.
- Wear close-fitting slippers with a thick pair of warm socks – knee high socks are good as they are easier to get hold of to pull up than ankle socks. Non-slip soles are essential – a staggering 27,000 people were hospitalised in just one year due to slipper accidents!
- Pop a blanket over knees – anyone with a dementia will love our Activity Blanket that is made of soft fleecy fabric with a selection of attachments to keep restless hands busy and is good for circulation.
- Keep bodies active. Get up and stretch regularly – including wiggling fingers and toes. If watching the TV, try to have a good full body stretch every time the adverts come on.
- Drink plenty of hot drinks; ring the changes with tea, hot chocolate, soup in a cup etc. You can even make squash up with hot water and a little honey for something different.
- Eat regularly. Many older people find energy levels are poor during the winter and often can’t be bothered to cook for themselves. Try to have a store of ready meals or tins of thick soups that are like a meal. One-pot meals are ideal such as Cottage Pie, stews and casseroles – the oven being on with help to heat the kitchen too. Spicy curries are great to give an inner tingle.
- Keep a store of fresh fruit to nibble on. This will help keep up vitamin levels to help stave off colds.
- Keep minds active by doing puzzles etc. Activities to Share have a huge range to choose from, especially with older people in mind they are printed in super large, bold print with clues that will gently tease. Try our new Large Print Word Search for Seniors book – 52 pages of puzzles (answers included).
To view more innovative fun games, exercise equipment, arts and crafts, sensory products and puzzles for seniors, call 01227 362858 for our latest catalogue or www.activitiestoshare.co.uk to view our complete range.
For more advice and information on keeping warm this winter, go to the Age UK website on www.ageuk.uk/health-wellbeing.