Caring for the Elderly Through Winter
2020 has been a tough year for everyone but especially for the elderly. As they are more susceptible to COVID-19, most of them have been shielding and cooped up in their homes for most of the year. 20,000 more people aged over 65 die in winter months than any other times of the year, and this year, the number could sharply rise due to the virus.
Now more than any other year, it is important to make sure your elderly loved ones are looked after.
Everyone is worried about their parents’ or grandparents’ physical health, but it is also important to focus on their mental health. Everyone’s mental health has been affected badly this year and older people can be some of the worst affected.
In this article, we will show you how to keep your elderly loved ones warm and healthy during this difficult winter period.
Maintaining a positive mind
It’s not just the physical health of the elderly that needs to be a major concern. After being stuck in the house for most of the year, many people’s mental health has started to deteriorate. Depression can be a big issue among elderly people, especially if there has been a death close to them, such as being recently widowed.
The elderly can feel increasingly more isolated if they are do not use the internet, as there is not the option to be able to video call them. The most contact a lot of elderly people got during the first lockdown was seeing their loved ones through a window.
Silver Line is a charity set up to help old people stay connected. They have a 24/7 phone line which the elderly can ring even if they just need a conversation. They can match an elderly person with a volunteer that can ring them every week just to have a chat, but they can also help connect them to local services where they can get help to get out of the house more and meet other people.
Getting the right exercise can be a struggle for old people. A lot of them have different levels of physicality as they get older. Some may still be very active, and some may not be able to manage the stairs. Many of them may be used to going out every day, such as heading up to the shops. But, with the pandemic putting a stop to this for a lot of people, alternative exercises need to be brought into the home. Exercise in the home can be as simple as getting up to pop the kettle on. This helps to make sure they are moving in some way every hour. If they struggle with moving, try just moving arms and legs for a few minutes every hour. The nation’s PE teacher Joe Wicks has some great YouTube videos showing exercises for seniors, even ones where they don’t have to leave their seat!
Indoor heating solutions
Have you ever walked into an older person’s home and felt like you walked into an oven? That’s because as you get older, the circulation of blood around the body gets slower, which is why old people often feel cold. The average home temperature should be kept to at least 18°C. But, central heating can be expensive, especially during the winter months when most old people need it on constantly. However, there are other indoor heating solutions that can help old people stay warm.
The traditional hot water bottle has always been a favourite for those wanting to stay warm in bed. Hot water bottles can be the perfect solution for those who don’t want to sleep with the heating on, but know they will be cold when they go to bed. They are great for those first few hours when you drift off to sleep. It can also be used during the day – it’s easy to just have on your lap while sitting watching TV or reading a newspaper.
Another solution for indoor heating is LPG heaters. Using a liquified petroleum gas heater is growing in popularity because of its many advantages. One advantage is that it is eco-friendly and uses natural gases so produces fewer emissions. The gas is easily stored as it’s in cylinders. These heaters are usually small depending on the model and can fit in the corner of a room easily. They are also very safe when maintained properly. Do this by getting them serviced by a qualified gasfitter every two years.
Keeping older people safe in the winter of 2020 needs to be a priority for everyone. Whether those elderly people are your neighbours, relatives, or friends, just checking up on them and having a conversation with them will greatly improve the living conditions of them.